Using media opportunities to amplify advocacy messages is an excellent way to reach decision makers and the public. Generally, the news media does not regularly cover education issues in depth; gifted education issues even less often. However, reporters are usually open to story suggestions about gifted education programs and practices and to stories involving gifted students. Advocates can insert themselves into the public conversation through letters to the editor and opinion pieces in the local media. Here are some suggestions:
Letters to the Editor
- Letters to the editor offer the opportunity to raise gifted education-related issues in response to articles that appear in the local press. Many newspaper reserve additional space on their websites for letters.
- Identify the section editor for the daily and weekly newspapers in your area
- Be sure to check on other letter guidelines (e.g., letter length, email address for submissions)
- Read tips on letter writing and a sample Letter to the Editor.
Commentary Pieces / Op-ed Pieces ("opposite" the editorial page)
- Commentary / op-ed pieces are an opportunity to raise awareness about how pending decisions (by the school board, state legislature, governor) will affect gifted children and should include a "call to action" — whether to the decision-making body or to the public at large. Keep in mind that the public knows little about gifted education-related issues, so it is important to include some of the basics and avoid jargon in your commentary. You may also want to cite NAGC's official positions or recent national research to lend weight to your arguments or positions. You may also want to read previously published op-eds as samples.
- Identify the op-ed and editorial page editors for the daily and weekly newspapers in your area.
- Be sure to check on other guidelines the paper may have (e.g., deadlines, length, email address for submissions).
- Identify the education reporters for the daily and weekly newspapers in your community.
- Identify the general-interest radio talk shows in the state (name of host and the show's producer).
- Facilitate an invitation to the education reporter from your paper to visit gifted education programs and events in your community. The chance to talk with teachers, administrators, students, and families about the need for and experiences in gifted education programs can help reporters write a compelling story.
- Most news reporters welcome story ideas. Short positive stories in the local press help generate support for high-ability students. You could plan to send story ideas to education and family reporters and talk-show hosts such as:
- The release of state and local test scores and achievement gaps at the advanced performance level.
- Implementation of the Common Core State Standards and teacher training to differentiate the standards for advanced students.
- Decisions about the state teacher accountability system for student achievement and plans to support gifted students to making continuous learning progress.
- Upcoming academic competitions in which your students are participating.
- VIP speakers addressing your gifted education program, student-generated service learning experiences, or the opening of a new school or program that serves advanced learners.
Read NAGC position statements
Learn more the state of giftedness in the states
Browse NAGC messages in the news