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Media Relations: Guide for Treatment Courts

By on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

This 16-page guide is designed to help treatment courts work more effectively with the news media. While Ami Neiberger-Miller started working with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) staff to write this publication well before the COVID-19 pandemic began, its advice remains relevant even in the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The publication provide an overview of the media landscape, and then talks about sharing the treatment court story – which is often one of hope, resilience and accountability – as people coping with substance use disorders go through a judicial process and addiction treatment program. Basics, such as how to define a treatment court, are discussed, as there is some variety in the field. A helpful chart discusses event types and which types of media outlets to invite and suggests what to send them.

A sample media pitch, advisory,  op-ed and letter to the editor give practical examples for readers to follow. Some of the thorny issues – such as asking someone new to recovery to interview with the media, are also discussed. This discussion – even though it is confined to only one page – is helpful for anyone working with people who have experienced traumatic experiences in their lives and are now deliberating whether to participate in a media interview. Steps can be taken to ensure honesty truthfulness in a news story, while also supporting a person’s healing and relationships today. The guide also overviews how to use a messaging box and charts out supportive talking points.

Even if you don’t work in the treatment court or addiction fields, the media guide provides a solid overview of how to engage with the press effectively on a topic.

Read the guide here (PDF file).

We are Steppingstone LLC, an independent practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media engagement, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites (contact us to discuss your projectreview our portfoliosign up for our e-newsletter). 

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