Department of Communications and Marketing
Director: Heather Clark
Manager: Alexa Drago
Specialist: Sara Crocker
Graphic Designer: Kate Shuster
What we’d all like to see in the media are images of attorneys as problem-solvers and counselors, as defenders of the poor and injured, upholders of the right and righteous, giving and good, and totally necessary in the democratic scheme of things.
It doesn’t always work out that way.
In the Communications Department, we try our best to keep a good relationship with members of the media, to suggest good stories, to head off unfair or incorrect publicity. We were told many years ago by a firm that did a study on attitudes toward the legal system that we shouldn’t try some “slick” campaign, but instead needed to emphasize a low-key, long-term policy of trustworthy information aimed at reporters and editors. We want to be the place reporters call when they need to talk to a lawyer and know that they’ll be put in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who will call them back quickly and speak in plain language about the subject at hand.
We don’t just wait for a call, however. When a topic becomes the focus of attention (lack of water, for instance), we call reporters and ask if we can put on a seminar for them, starring lawyers deeply experienced in that area. We e-mail reporters often, complimenting them on a story, adding a comment, or sometimes, offering a gentle correction.
We ask that you also hold reporters accountable for what they write. A study done in the wake of plagiarism and other ethical charges against two New York Times reporters showed that many people don’t take the trouble to call or e-mail in corrections because they don’t think reporters care. We think they do care. Would you please find out how to contact a reporter by e-mail (in Denver you use the last name first, then their first initial, i.e.: email@example.com to write Sue Lindsay or anyone else at the Rocky Mountain News. Use the first initial with a last name – i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org to contact Howard Pankratz or use the same style to contact anyone else at The Denver Post, including the editor on down). Please e-mail or call them when you see a mistake or believe that a story is unfair. Pass along a compliment even more quickly. Reporters are more careful when someone is watching. Please be that someone who watches. If you are not comfortable contacting a journalist on your own, don't hesitate to contact us so we can follow up. contact Tara Miller, email@example.com or (303) 824-5312, or Christine McManus, firstname.lastname@example.org or (303)824-5347.
Some Specific Projects:
MEMBER E-NEWSLETTER: CBA E-brief is an electronic newsletter e-mailed to more than 13,000 members every Thursday. If you have a statewide event, send information to email@example.com.
LAW SCHOOL FOR JOURNALISTS: The Colorado Bar Association and the Colorado Judicial Department have teamed up to create "Law School for Journalists," a series of classes designed to provide reporters with basic information about the legal system and the judiciary. These free 1.5 hour sessions take place one morning a month at the CBA. Participants can attend in person or via conference call. Each session focuses on one primary area of the law that pertains to a current issue the media benefits from learning about. Details are on the Web at http://www.courts.state.co.us/exec/media/lawforjournalists.htm. If you have a topic of interest or would like to be considered as a panelist, contact Christine McManus, firstname.lastname@example.org or (303)824-5347.
LEGAL LINES is a column sent out twice a month to more than 100 Colorado newspapers. It’s a general interest column that takes practical questions from readers and it runs in newspapers across the state. Readers get to see our name on something helpful. If you’d like to write an answer to a Legal Lines question, please contact Christine McManus, email@example.com.
BAR NEWS. Bar News is a monthly compilation of news from the Colorado Bar Association, including Sections and Committees, Administration, and Local and Specialty Bar Associations, printed in The Colorado Lawyer. Send information and photos about these events and activities to Tara Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEWS RELEASES are sent to statewide media outlets on our new officers, CBA and member awards, mock trial competitions, etc.
MEDIA VISITS to the newspaper in your area are arranged by this office, in cooperation with your bar association, when the CBA president is making a visit.
COLORADO PRESS ASSOCIATION: We partner with the CPA to bring events to your bar association and to reporters. On alternative summers, we travel with the CPA during their visits to CPA members in various parts of the state. We have set up panels with law enforcement personnel, judges, district attorneys and reporters for roundtable discussions. Especially if you think relations between the press in your area and the legal/judicial community aren’t the best, we will be glad to host a breakfast to talk over issues.