Charity PROs should target non-news formats to raise awareness of poverty

Charity PR professionals have been advised to target soap operas and other non-news formats if they wish to raise awareness of poverty among the UK public.

Aylesbury Estate: linked to poverty
Aylesbury Estate: linked to poverty

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has this week released the complete findings of its long-term research project into UK attitudes towards poverty, and how to build support to eradicate poverty.

The report suggests conventional PR tactics should be revisited. It states: 'Third sector efforts have often focused on getting into the news, maybe with an eye on reaching policymakers. However, to reach a greater proportion of the public, other formats may be more appropriate. For instance, third sector groups could work with media to consider how soap operas might handle poverty and inequality.'

Other the other hand, certain TV formats, such the Channel 4 programme Secret Millionaire, are viewed more critically. The report suggests that programmes such as Secret Millionaire can sustain a view of 'us and them' and create tension between people with high and low incomes.

The report also argues that PROs should encourage poorer people to take up opportunities to respond to inaccurate media coverage and to create alternative content by going on radio phone-ins, websites, TV shows and newspapers to 'have their say'.

It adds that third sector organisations can help by linking people to technology.

The report picks out Sunday broadsheet newspapers as being the most likely outlet to report on poverty, and states that national media are much more likely to cover the subject than regional or local media.

The catalyst for coverage tends to be an event such as a government or research report. Poverty in other countries is often given more coverage than UK poverty.

The JRF has produced educational materials on poverty and the media that will be sent out to all journalism schools nationwide in the next few weeks. An online resource will also be launched imminently.

Watch two experts discuss the research released by the JRF on the perception of poverty at

Produced in association with markettiers4DC.

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