We believe success is measured not in the number of headlines, column inches or time on screen but by whether you have reached the audiences you necessary to achieve your goals. Sometimes, success might look like a New York Times or Washington Post story. Other times, depending on the goals of a specific effort, it may look like a Des Moines Register, Miami Herald, Naperville Sun or local public radio story. Success might also come in the form of a strategic communication disseminated by an organization or coalition to stakeholder audiences, explaining a perspective or encouraging activism on a key issue.
We also believe that simply securing the story is not enough — what you do with it afterward also matters. To that end, WEST works closely with clients to amplify news clips via social media, through our clients’ networks and additional pitching. For example, WEST worked closely with a Chicago-area pastor to draft and place an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune. Upon publication, WEST pitched the publication of the op-ed to local television stations, securing the pastor an interview on a local morning news show to further disseminate her point of view.
WEST also knows that success can sometimes take years, especially when focused on advocacy goals. In the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, members of WEST began to work with a faith-based gun violence prevention effort. In addition to supporting many of the most-discussed policy proposals (e.g., universal background checks and assault weapons bans), the client also advocated for funding for community-based violence prevention programs to make a greater difference in communities most directly-impacted by gun violence. For nearly a decade, members of WEST have worked to elevate that client and support it in shifting the national narrative around gun violence prevention, resulting in the inclusion of a $5 billion investment in community violence prevention programs as a part of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.