Agenda – Israeli Center for Strategic Communications
What is Agenda?
Agenda, Israel’s only Center for Strategic Communications, is a unique not-for-profit center working to reprioritize and reframe social change issues within the Israeli public debate and media.
Agenda’s work is three-pronged:
1. Long-term and strategic shift in the media’s approach to key social change issues
2. Providing strategic tools and consultation services to social change organizations in order to improve their work with the media.
3. Targeted Monitoring, Information Collection and Dissemination.
Israel today is in the midst of a social, economic and political crisis that provides fertile soil for interested parties to impose a one-dimensional discourse fed by anxiety and alienation. Agenda views with utmost importance the establishment of a new public discourse where other voices are heard and a central place is given to subjects such as equality, minority rights, social, economic and environmental justice, health and human rights.
We believe that promoting these issues and values in the medias discourse, so that they become an inseparable part of the Israeli lexicon, while developing media strategies within the organizations for social change, will significantly contribute to the advancement of struggles for social change.
The media has become one of the most powerful tools in shaping the public agenda, in shaping public opinion and in influencing the decision-making process. The professional skills of working with the press, such as the ability to get a story in, to present and clarify a position and to steadily and continuously influence the way in which reality is portrayed in the various media, must not be the exclusive privilege of politicians, the moneyed and official senior spokespeople.
Agenda's goal is to shape public opinion and lead to social and conceptual change through the media, through full cooperation with the organizations for social change.
Agenda's goal is to impact the public agenda and the policy-making processes by promoting social change issues in the media arena in planned and pro-active ways. For this purpose, Agenda uses media professionals and proven communications strategies. The center works in full cooperation with organizations for social change and acts to increase their presence as information providers and opinion makers in creating the media discourse.
Why Do We Need Agenda?
To advance a public platform for social change through the Israeli media
1. The media is a powerful tool that shapes public opinion, sets the public agenda and influences decision-makers’ stances on key issues. This is especially true for Israel; when 63% of adults (40% in US) read at least one newspaper and 68% of them (41% US) listen to the radio regularly. 40% of Israeli adults (compared to 16%in US) visit internet news sites on a regular basis. The media is a mirror and a lens through which we can both learn from and influence the socio-economic and political processes that shape our lives.
2. Israel’s media is preoccupied with frequent political turmoil, terror and diplomatic crises that overshadow civic issues. Socio-economic justice, civil rights, fair and equal representations of minority groups, cultural and religious pluralism issues are often marginalized and overlooked. As a result, Israel’s democracy and multicultural society are weakened.
3. Israel has a growing number of organizations that promote an array of social change initiatives essential to its democratic and civic society. These organizations are in need of basic training and ongoing consultation on how to strategically utilize the media in their efforts to counter forces that have immense resources and media expertise at hand.
What Does Agenda Do?
Shaping public opinion, changing policy and bringing about real change in Israel’s national agenda depends to a great extent on strategic and professional utilization of the media.
1. Direct Media Outreach on Selected Key Issues
Every year Agenda’s Board of Directors selects one or two central issues that Agenda promotes in its daily work together with the media and relevant organizations. This in-depth approach enables the center’s professional team to pursue a specific social change issue thoroughly and establish the needed ties with NGO’s and diverse media agents to promote its unique stance. Agenda’s project “Reframing the war on Poverty and the Poor” proved successful in shifting the media’s approach, reprioritizing the issue on the national agenda and influencing decision makers’ social services policy initiatives.
2. Consulting and Training Social Change Organizations
Agenda works with a range of Israel’s social change NGO’s on strengthening their media outreach skills and available resources. These vital organizations often lack the needed resources to advance their issues in the media and reach the broad public with their imperative messages. Agenda provides the necessary tools, skill-development training, unique consultation and resources in order to advance social change issues and campaigns on the national agenda. Agenda emphasizes the importance of a strategic approach when working with the media. For example, one of the key tools developed by Agenda is its yearly Media Marathon – an intensive three-day media marathon offered to organizations at subsidized cost by top experts in the field.
3. Targeted Monitoring, Information Collection and Dissemination
Agenda conducts issue-based and in-depth monitoring of all media outlets on an ongoing basis, disseminating this information to the relevant organizations and guiding them in its utilization in “real time.” Agenda developed an updated unique database that serves both social change NGO’s and different media agents. Agenda aims to provide cutting-edge data, contact information and articles that are up-to-date and relevant to the organizations. The site includes: research reports, statistics, media tips, data updates and links to international sources of information. The information is disseminated widely to organizations, media persons and stakeholders through specific topic-based weekly emails and Agenda’s website agenda-demo.migvan.co.il, which has thousands of visitors each month.
Shifting Israeli Media Approach to Poverty: from "parasites" to "working poor"
Agenda raised its stance on poverty to the forefront of the public agenda; included new voices once marginalized and challenged the hegemonic approach among the Israeli public and decision-makers on social cuts and their effect on the “working poor".
Elevating Social Change Organizations and Issues in the Media
100 of Israel’s social change non-profit organizations, leading to a more professional media and PR work, increased number of trained and efficient spokespersons for social change programs and increasing the visibility of their campaigns over 100%.
In-depth Work with Key Media Personnel
reciprocal relations with key personnel in Israel’s diverse media outlets, including senior editors and leading journalists.
Involving the Academia in the Communications Platform for Social Change
Agenda held numerous trainings and seminars at the different universities and initiated joint ventures with the leading universities in Israel concerning the media and its relation to social change programs.
Agenda – Israeli Center for Strategic Communications
159 Yigal Alon st.