Sustaining hiv vaccine Communications and Outreach

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Sustaining HIV Vaccine Communications and Outreach:

A NHVREI Partner Toolkit

As leaders and advocates in the HIV/AIDS community, your organizations will remain vital to the continued support of HIV vaccine and prevention research. You are well aware of the great strides scientists and researchers are making in labs around the world. Those efforts would not be possible without the dedication of individuals like you, whose credible voices will continue to inform and educate communities even after NHVREI. Whether through presentations, events, op-eds, or tweets, your trusted voices are critical to ensuring that accurate, timely, and culturally appropriate information reaches key communities and constituents, particularly key influencers and those most impacted by the epidemic.

This toolkit was designed to provide you with a variety of resources and samples to assist you in your communications and outreach activities. We hope you will refer to this toolkit as you continue to engage your constituents, communities, and collaborators in a meaningful dialogue about HIV vaccine research.

We thank you again for your commitment to these efforts and look forward to following you—in print, online, through the airwaves, or on mobile devices—in the years to come. communications glossary cover.jpg


Navigating Communications: 3

How to Talk to the Media: 10

Sustaining Your Vaccine Messages in the Media: 13

Social Media Tips: 14

Observance Day Blurbs: 29

Calendar of HIV/AIDS Observance Days and Meetings: 30

NHVREI Key Message Platform 33

Credible Sources in HIV Prevention Research: 34

Credible Sources in HIV Prevention Funding: 38

Community Engagement in HIV Vaccine Research: 40

Sample HIV Vaccine Research Education Presentation 41

HIV Vaccine Quiz: 52

Additional Resources and Materials 53

Ongoing Trials of Preventive HIV/AIDS Vaccines Worldwide (September 2010) 54

CDC Interim Guidelines on PrEP 57

Advocate’s Guide to Statistical Terms 60

PX Wire – January-March 2011 61

Grant Sources 66

Navigating Communications:

A Communications Glossary for

NHVREI Partners

General Communications Terms

Message development – Aligning the mission, vision, and goals of your organization into clear, concise messages that effectively convey your program/organization. These messages can be used to develop a variety of communications materials, including fact sheets, talking points, and op-eds.

Key influencers– Trusted leaders and organizations that can influence the thoughts or actions of individuals and communities. Key influencers can include potential funders, HIV/AIDS service organizations, local and regional philanthropy groups, educational institutions, local businesses, community and civic organizations, minority advocacy groups, human rights organizations and affinity groups.

Stakeholders or third party organization– A person or entity with an interest in an organization’s success in delivering its products, services, or messages. For example, achieving increased public awareness and knowledge about HIV vaccine research in the case of NHVREI.
Strategic communications plan - A strategic communications plan is a written statement that provides direction for all communications activities. The plan should include the goal, objectives, and target audience, understanding of the needs and perceptions of the target population, action steps that should be taken, reasons why your target audiences should be compelled to act, and the benefits to be gained. The plan provides the direction and consistency for all messages and materials that follow. It often calls for the implementation of tactics such as research, message concepts, materials creation, traditional media (e.g., TV, newspapers, radio), new media (see Web 2.0) stakeholder outreach, and evaluation and tracking.
Media Outreach Terms

Audio News Release (ANR) – A scripted audio recording that is used to promote a product, organization, idea or event on local and national radio stations. ANRs can range in length but are typically recorded in 30, 60 and 90 second intervals.

Backgrounder – An important strategic communications document that concisely explains how an organization was developed and the intended goals and outcomes of the group. This piece is typically one page in length and can be distributed to the media, organizational members, interested parties and/or potential funders.

Boilerplate language – A brief statement of purpose that can easily and repeatedly be inserted onto organizational resources and press materials, such as a brochure or press release. Typical boilerplates include mission statements, safety warnings, copyright statements and responsibility disclaimers.

Columnist – A writer or editor of a regular feature for publication. Columnists generally produce editorial content for magazines, newspapers and/or blogs and may write pieces on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. They tend to have a distinct “voice” and often express their opinions.

Deskside briefing – A meeting between journalist(s) and organizational leaders to pitch a story or idea and access credible spokespersons. Briefings occur in close proximity to a reporter/editor’s office, offering convenience for publication staff – especially in light of media budget cuts. The goal of these meetings is to get journalists to consider an organization or key spokespersons as “go-to” sources on a special topic area or issue.

Earned media – Publication of a story or article that was placed as a result of proactive pitching.

Fact sheet – A resource itemizing information pertinent to an organization, issue or cause.

Letter to the Editor (LTE) – A timely letter written on behalf of an individual or organization in response to a recently published story or article. Letters are drafted to support or refute a position taken by a reporter or contributor and should include examples or current events to support the presented claim. Check with individual publications for submission guidelines regarding word count. Letters should be submitted either the same day or the day after an article has been published.

Media – A channel of communication easily available for public consumption and influence. Media is categorized by a variety of outlets, including radio, television, newspaper, magazine, trade publications, journals and internet news sources. Media can be vital in establishing awareness of a certain topic.

Media advisory – A brief announcement that describes an upcoming event or activity. This document should be short, easy to read and feature key points of interest, including the who, what, when, where, why, how and contact information for media inquiries.
Media list – An inventory of reporters, writers, editors, and producers to contact when pitching stories and events. This list should be updated frequently and include vital information about the journalist and outlet that is being pitched. Typical media lists include:

  • Publication

  • Contact Name

  • Beat/topic area (contact’s focus –i.e. health, science, community, news, etc)

  • Phone number

  • Email address

  • Location (city, state)

  • Pitching instructions (likes to be contacted only by phone, etc)

Media monitoring – Scanning media to determine how a topic has been covered (or not), and which issues and topics are popular in particular news media. Media monitoring is an important way to stay informed of media coverage trends as well as which organizations or key spokespersons have been quoted by journalists on your particular area of interest. This can be especially helpful in informing which publications and contacts your organization should pitch.

Media pitch – A call or email to reporters/editors providing them a story idea, news angle or potential spokesperson for publication. Pitch calls are usually conducted following a brief email that includes key messages and information and should be placed between 10 am and 2 pm – the best window of availability for journalists.

Media relations – The process of developing relationships with media. Through the consumption of media, large key audiences can become better informed about issues and ultimately help support an organization/focus and influence behavior and action.

Media tracking – A method of recoding media coverage of a story or event once it has been released and pitched. Media tracking helps organizations evaluate whether their outreach campaigns have been successful. Tracking coverage allows organizations to analyze media response and understand best methods for future outreach.

Media training – A workshop or program designed to prepare individuals representing organizations for media interviews. Training should provide those being interviewed with the necessary tools to stay on message and answer tough questions.

Opinion editorial (Op-ed) – An article submitted to the media that expresses the opinion of an individual or organization in response to a current event or issue. Each news outlet has a preferred method of receiving op-eds, so be sure to check their guidelines prior to submitting. Many leaders in the HIV/AIDS community have been successful in leveraging observance days and news on prevention research in their op-ed submissions.

Paid media – The acquisition of media space via purchase. For instance, radio media tours, satellite media tours, advertisements (newspaper, magazine, transit ad, billboard, etc.) and matte releases are all paid media tactics. A variety of local and regional vendors supply these services and can work with organizations to craft appropriate strategies.

Press kit - A prepackaged folder of materials (media tools) used to provide background information and inform the media about an organization and its key programs and initiatives. Press kits are often distributed at an event, announcement, or during a deskside briefing. Press kits can contain the following items:

• News releases

• Media advisories

• Feature stories

• Photographs

• PowerPoint slides

• Backgrounders

• Biographies

• Fact sheets

• Position papers

Press release – A public announcement issued to the media that summarizes an organization’s event, data findings, collaboration, development or new project. Some organizations tailor their press releases to fit individual publications and/or intended audiences. However, it is also acceptable to send a general release that would appeal to a mass audience. Releases should be one to two pages typed, double-spaced and include the contact information of someone who can manage media inquiries. Boilerplate language can also be included at the bottom of a release.
Reporter/beat reporter – A journalist who generates content for media publications. Reporters who write to a particular topic or issue area, such as health, local news and science, are known as beat reporters.

Talking points – A set of concise statements that help organizational spokespersons or other leadership prepare for an interview with a journalist, for a presentation, or anytime when key messages may be conveyed. These statements should cover the issues most likely to arise during the interview.

Wire service – A news distribution service that provides syndicated content to various other media outlets. Wire services include the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters and Dow Jones.
Digital Media Terms

Blog – A web-based log that allows individuals to publicly share items of interest. They can have a neutral tone or provide commentary on recent news. Blogs can be created in an open or closed platform, allowing the author to control who is able to view information. Blogs also often allow for comments from readers, engendering a conversation among a variety of individuals.

Discussion forum – A website that allows users to discuss topics and ideas with several users, similar to a message board. Discussion forums can be private or public, allowing users to view a conversation and engage in it if they wish.

Embed – The act of inserting a multimedia file into a Web page. Examples include RSS feeds, graphics, sounds, hyperlinks, video and social networks.

Facebook – A social networking site that allows users to connect and engage with other users through profile, fan and event pages. Participants manage a profile page to publicize interests and work/study information and have the option to update their profile with comments, shared links, posts and “likes.” Facebook fan pages allow organizations to promote information and events and keep supporters/constituents engaged in their activities.

Foursquare – foursquare is a location mapping and social networking service for mobile phones that allows users to let their friends know where they are by checking in to different venues. This is great for businesses/organizations as it helps them track consumers’ whereabouts as well as the things they are saying about each venue.

Geolocation/Geotagging – A computer or mobile device application that allows individuals to broadcast their physical location. The social networking program foursquare uses geolocation to track users as they change destinations and meet up with friends around their community. Geotagging devices are a great way to share where an activity is being held and to let attendees with these applications broadcast their participation. They can also be used at large conventions and meetings to remind attendees the exact location of a booth, panel, lecture, etc- especially if these are not made available beforehand.

Listserv/ email list – A small program that automatically sends an email message to multiple individuals and organizations. Email lists can either be created from scratch (through personal contacts and research) or through an open subscription that allows users to sign up to receive emails.

Plugin (or plug-in)– A set of software components that adds specific capabilities to a larger software application. If supported, plug-ins allow for the customization of the functionality of an application. For example, plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers to play video, scan for viruses, and display new file types. Well-known plug-in examples include Adobe Flash Player and QuickTime.

Podcast – A channel through which digital audio and video files can be broadcast over the internet and downloaded to a mobile device or personal computer. Podcasts can be standalone files or part of a series; subscribers often learn of new podcast through an RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – A web-feed format that is used to publish real-time information to subscribers. RSS feeds stream information from one website to another, including news, music, video, events. All modern Web browsers include the ability to access RSS feeds.

Search Engine Optimization -- The process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the natural or un-paid (algorithmic) search results. Other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) target paid listings.

Social media – Media (often online or accessed via mobile device) that allow and encourage communication through easily-accessible web-based publishing technologies. Social media have turned what were once one-way communication vehicles into dynamic platforms for dialogue. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, blogs, and social blogs among others.

Social media release – A press release that includes a variety of multi-media tools, such as links to videos, embeddable visuals and audio clips and applications, allowing the information to be shared via Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

Social network – In computing, a web-based platform that connects individuals, groups, organizations and/or communities with one another through a variety of shared interests, ideas and knowledge. Most social networking sites allow privacy settings to limit the amount of information that is shared with other users. Social networks include Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn and foursquare among others.

Twitter – A micro blogging network that allows users to post and read text called “tweets” that are no more than 140 characters in length. Users can “follow” and “be followed” by other users, allowing them to repost another author’s tweet and share personal tweets with individuals and organizations in their social network.

@reply – A Twitter reply or update in response to someone else’s tweet.

Handle The Twitter username. The accompanying URL to a Twitter handle is For example,’s handle is

Hashtags (#) – A symbol used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. Clicking on a hashtagged word in a tweet will reveal all other tweets in that category.

Web 2.0 – The current landscape for internet technology and usability which allows users to interface and exchange information over a virtual community. Examples include social networking sites like Facebook, blogs like the Huffington Post, wikis like Wikipedia, video sharing sites like YouTube, hosted services and web applications.

Widget – A widget is a stand-alone application that can be embedded into sites allowing users to link personal content to dynamic web apps that can be shared on websites where the code can be installed. Widgets include interfacing applications like icons, pull down menus, buttons, selection boxes and interactive forms.

Wiki – A public website that allows multiple users to create and modify content in order to define a particular subject or topic area.

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