The Minnesota Summit garnered substantial media coverage, despite a number of factors that made it a difficult story for traditional media coverage, including:

  • Lack of public access – one of the easiest “hooks” for coverage of an event is to explain to media consumers how they can be involved. As an “invitation only” event there was no public involvement at The Minnesota Summit.
  • The broad scope of the topic of sexual violence prevention presents a challenge – how do you break the issue down into manageable, personal stories?
  • Lack of immediate, short-term goals that could be publicized – The Summit was about long-term planning, strategizing and goal setting, which do not traditionally make for interesting news stories.

In reaching out to members of the media for the Minnesota Summit, MNCASA relied on the advice, contacts and skills of Melodie Behan, communications director for the Guthrie Theatre.  A decision was made to focus largely on opinion pieces, allowing for varied voices to tell personal stories, share their support for the goals of the Summit and educate the public on the issue of sexual violence prevention. Key successes included:

  • Identification of several violence prevention champions, such as Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough, Patty Wetterling and Dutch Cragun, who were willing to write opinion pieces in which they shared their personal stories and reasons for their commitment to prevention.
  • Editorial support of the state’s two largest daily newspapers – by targeting the editorial boards of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press and successfully gaining the support of both papers, the organizers of the Minnesota Summit were able to both explain the goals of The Summit and legitimize the concept to readers. While the general public awareness of the issues was an important outcome of this effort, editorial support will have a tremendous impact moving forward.

Sample Advance Coverage

Event Coverage

  • Fox News sent a reporter to cover the opening of The Summit.
  • A common Twitter hashtag was used by a number of participants to “live tweet” from The Minnesota Summit.
  • Subsequent blogs and Facebook entries further spread the word.
  • David Lee of PreventConnect at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault attended The Minnesota Summit to tweet, record and video Summit activities. PreventConnect’s final report on The Minnesota Summit can be found here.
  • National coverage was provided by David Lee immediately following The Summit: “Prevention Rocks”


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