Clarifying the Truth to the Media by Building a Good Relationship with Reporters (UK Fa Conference 2003)

I would like to share my understandings and experience of building a relationship with the media to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa, and also about team work and cooperation between practitioners.

When a Dafa practitioner who is also a world-renowned artist, was due to hold an exhibition in Glasgow, Scottish practitioners decided to contact the media and invite them to the exhibition. I went with a Chinese practitioner to visit the major newspapers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Whilst I spoke to the reporters, the other practitioner sent forth righteous thoughts. Although there was some interest, none of the reporters made a definite commitment to write about the exhibition. Looking at my xinxing I felt I was “making the rounds”, so to speak, trying to fit in as many newspapers as possible and I did it in a hurry, which meant the reporters didn’t really engage with us for long. It’s interesting that the weather was very unusual on that day, with torrential rain one moment and then blue skies the next.

The next day we went to one of Scotland’s main newspapers in Edinburgh. I felt more focused and relaxed. When visiting this newspaper, it is never certain which reporter will be sent down and at reception I was initially told that they were busy. However, we kept a righteous mind with no pursuit and soon an Arts reporter came to talk to us. Again I spoke to him whilst the other practitioner quietly sent forth righteous thoughts. He immediately engaged with me in conversation and seemed genuinely interested in the paintings. A rapport was quickly developed and we talked about the exhibition and the persecution of Dafa in a very relaxed and friendly way. He had not heard of Falun Gong and was obviously shocked and yet struck by the beauty of the practitioner’s art. I was able to relate to him in a way that was meaningful to him, by listening to him and understanding where he was “coming from”, rather than just talking at him, or trying at all costs to “sell” my piece of truth-clarification.

After we left the office, the practitioner and I did not discuss the meeting we’d had - we just focused on the next task. Then out of the blue the reporter phoned me and asked if he could contact the artist to do a phone interview. He also came to the exhibition and wrote a great article about the artist and the persecution they suffered in a Chinese labour camp because they practise Falun Gong. From this experience, the Scottish practitioners worked as one body; each person contributed to the effort in the most appropriate way. I also learned that building a trusting and friendly relationship with media reporters without pursuing any outcome has a great result. To build a solid foundation with the media requires personal contact and it is also important not to overload them with the issues we want to cover all at once. In many respects, quality can be more important than quantity. One good relationship with a reporter is worth more than sending out many press releases with no personal contact. I feel it is very important for two practitioners to visit the media, so that one can send forth righteous thoughts and the other do the talking. The energy field is stronger and has a harmonising effect.

When practitioners were participating in the Edinburgh Cavalcade, I again tried to contact this reporter, but he was always out of the office and although I spoke to his Editor, no article was written. Looking within myself I felt that I did not pay as much attention to teamwork as I had done before. I also forgot the importance of the second practitioner sending righteous thoughts. This time I had gone to visit the newspaper by myself. I also felt less convinced that there was a good story to write this time, so my righteous thoughts were weaker. The most successful activities for me have usually been in collaboration with others. I think if I had visited the newspaper with another practitioner my heart may have felt more righteous. I notice that if I take on some Dafa work and yet I’m not convinced of its importance, although I have a tendency to do it anyway, I still may not fully engage my heart in it, and the result is not so good. I don’t necessarily share this apathy with other practitioners so I am therefore hiding my attachment. So I felt after the Cavalcade that I could have done better with the media and was disappointed that I had not managed to contact the Arts reporter. It also showed me my attachment of wanting recognition and praise from other practitioners. However, I let the disappointment go.

Just this week, I got a phone call from the same Arts reporter asking if a practitioner could do a “guest review” of a Chinese film that was advertised in the Edinburgh Film Festival program guide. He was interested for it to be reviewed by a practitioner because the guide compared a fictional group in the film to Falun Gong. The reporter was happy for me to give my opinion of the film and to inform readers about the persecution. He said the review would definitely be published in the newspaper. Two free film tickets were left for myself and another practitioner. I reviewed the film and this was a collaborative process, “bouncing” ideas off the other practitioner who saw the film. I feel it was a great opportunity to expose the persecution and point out that the film program guide was influenced by the regime’s propaganda.

What I realised from this is that because I had built up a friendly relationship with this reporter and shown him that Dafa is good, when he saw something damaging Dafa he immediately contacted me and offered me a chance to clarify the truth in a national newspaper. This is a great thing for him to do and it is great for the people of Scotland who may learn the truth from this report. I truly realised how important building a strong relationship with reporters really is. The reporter told me he was disappointed that he missed my messages at the time of the Cavalcade, as he would have liked to have written an article about our parade. He also phoned me after I emailed him my film review and said he was very happy with it and keen to cover our future activities.

Thank you to Master and Dafa practitioners for assisting me in my path as a Fa rectification Period Dafa disciple.

You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.