Last week when Carleton journalism prof and former CBC reporter Susan Harada spoke at the government’s official announcement of Informed Opinions’ funding, she cited a current example of just how much impact a timely published op ed can have.
Referring to that morning’s Globe and Mail, Susan cited a piece by former Canadian diplomat, Scott Gilmore, who had — in the wake of sensational WikiLeaks revelations — reflected on his own experiences writing diplomatic memos. “I wrote cables back to Ottawa that would raise the hair on the back of your neck,” he confessed.
Susan noted that this piece had effectively positioned its author as a go-to authority on the emerging story, and he would no doubt show up on broadcast programs for the rest of the week. Sure enough, there he was a few hours later on CTV’s Power Play.
When I first started writing op eds in the 1990s while serving as president of Media Action (then Media Watch), I frequently experienced the exponential exposure effects of penning a timely piece in a daily paper well-read by talk show producers. Writing pieces on the issuing of a specialty TV license, the outcome of a pornography trial and the demise of the Miss Canada pageant all netted me invitations to broaden the audience for my views on radio and TV shows.