Red Cross bodies prevail as charity coverage rises

Red Cross organisations have come top in the NGO Watch results for June, a month in which all charities saw a significant increase in media coverage.

The Red Cross bodies, including the British Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, gained 310 mentions in the mainstream national and regional print and online media.

This compares to 149 mentions for last month’s top- placed charity, the RSPCA.

Also, in last month’s results just five out of the top ten charities achieved more than 100 mentions; this month, all ten achieved that.

According to Chris Thomas, head of research at NGO Watch compiler Infonic, the increase in coverage for charities is set to continue throughout the summer as the ‘big, heavyweight issues of the last year’, including the situation in Iraq, continue to dominate the news agenda.

But it was not just the Red Cross’s involvement in Iraq that helped the organisations achieve the top spot. Coverage also focused on its work in Nigeria – following a fuel pipeline explosion on 22 June – and the International Committee of the Red Cross’s meeting with the opposition movement in Burma.

British Red Cross head of media and PR Catherine Mahoney explained that International Red Cross press notices are channelled through her office, where a decision is reached as to whether it will appeal to the British media.

The British Red Cross was also involved in a link-up with black community newspaper The Voice last month, and its annual ball even gained coverage in Hello! magazine.

Other strong performers in this month’s Top Ten are Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, showing that environmental issues are gaining greater prominence among national and regional news desks.

Friends of the Earth almost trebled its mentions, boosting its ranking from tenth last month to third this time. This was due to increased activity by the charity surrounding GM food.

Greenpeace is a new entry at seven, due to coverage including research commissioned by the charity revealing traces of radioactive waste found in supermarket salmon.

Those that just missed out on a top ten placing include the World Wildlife Fund in 11th with 106 mentions, and the Refugee Council in 12th with 86.

Other charities outside the top ten that increased their coverage in June are Barnardo’s and the SoilAssociation, which was also involved in the GM food debate.

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