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Explore Channels and Activities List

Multiple channels can be used to reach target audiences. Developers of a fish consumption advisory (FCA) should pretest target audiences to determine the best possibility(ies) of reaching each target audience.

On this page:

Interpersonal Channels

Interpersonal channels (e.g., physicians, friends, family members, counselors, parents, clergy, and coaches of the target audiences) put fish consumption advisory messages in a familiar context. These channels are more likely to be trusted and influential than media sources. Developing messages, materials, and links into interpersonal channels may require time; however, these channels are among the most effective, especially for affecting attitudes, skills, and behavior/behavioral intent. Influence through interpersonal contacts may work best when the individual is already familiar with the message, for example, from hearing it through mass media exposure. Additionally, mass media messages are most effective at changing behavior when they are supplemented with interpersonal channels.

Group Channels/Organizational and Community Channels

Group Channels (e.g., neighborhood gatherings and club meetings) can help the FCA program help reach more of the target audience. For example, health messages can be designed for groups with specific things in common, such as workplace, school, church, club affiliations, or favorite activities, and these channels add the benefits of group discussion and affirmation of the messages. As with interpersonal channels, working through group channels can require significant levels of effort. Influence through group channels is more effective when groups are already familiar with the message. Good examples of useful group channels include:

  • Meetings, events, or locations (e.g., libraries, schools, marinas, public beaches, tackle shops, and sailing clubs) where products are made available. For example, posting highly visible advisory signs with pictures of species of concern with corresponding consumption advisories at fishing locations
  • Booths at block parties
  • Health fairs
  • Text4baby© campaign
  • Communicate at points of sale for fishing license and bait shops
  • Other locations, e.g., fitness centers, health care providers, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics

Organizations and community groups such as advocacy groups can disseminate materials, include the FCA program’s messages in their newsletters and other materials, hold events, and offer instruction related to the message. Their involvement also can lend credibility to the FCA program’s efforts. Organizational/community channels can offer support for action and are two-way, allowing discussion and clarification, enhancing motivation, and reinforcing action. Some additional examples of the ways that organizations/communities use their channels are:

  • Hotlines that distribute products upon request
  • Distribution of materials by automated means to their members: text messages, email messages, listservs
  • Deliver messages through trusted peers, friends, experts in comfortable setting where anglers come together to talk about fishing (clubs, tournaments, etc.)
  • Organize or encourage catch and release tournaments
  • Workshops or kitchen giveaways for people who cook fish
  • Courses (of various lengths) and lesson plans tailored for different target audiences, different ages, and different educational levels (including lesson plans for teachers)  

Mass Media Channels

Mass media channels (e.g., radio, network and cable television, magazines, direct mail, billboards, transit cards, newspapers) offer many opportunities for message dissemination, including mentions in news programs, entertainment programming (“entertainment education”), public affairs programs, “magazines” and talk shows (including radio audience call-ins), live remote broadcasts, editorials (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, free local periodicals, health and political columns in newspapers and magazines, posters, brochures, advertising, and public service campaigns). Consider using a variety of formats and media channels, always choosing from among those most likely to reach the target audiences.

Mass media campaigns are a “tried-and-true” communication approach. They have been conducted on topics ranging from general health to specific diseases, from prevention to treatment. Overall, research has demonstrated the effectiveness of mass media approaches in:

  • Raising awareness
  • Stimulating the target audience to seek information and services
  • Increasing knowledge
  • Changing attitudes and even achieving some change (usually) in self-reported behavioral intentions and behaviors

However, behavior change is usually associated with long-term, multiple-intervention campaigns rather than with one-time communication-only programs.

FCA programs should also consider developing content that can be distributed through mass media channels, such as:
  • Pamphlets or flyers
  • Short radio and TV announcements (public service announcements) about the risks and benefits of fish consumption, including social benefits of fishing  
  • Longer videos and radio programs about the risks and benefits of fish consumption suitable for public TV, schools, fishing clubs, and other venues
  • Short educational videos – which can be played in hospital and prenatal clinic waiting rooms
  • Educational documentaries and PSA-type messages which can be played during popular TV hours

Interactive Digital Media Channels

Interactive digital social media channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), texting, YouTube, listservs, electronic forums for information exchange, and kiosks are useful channels that have great reach. Many of these media allow communicators to deliver highly tailored messages to, and receive feedback from, the target audience. Examples include online fishing forums and FCA messages via monitors in hospitals and clinics, especially in waiting areas. However, some community members may not have access to these types of channels, so consideration should be given to whether these channels are available when deciding on their use.

These channels are capable of producing both mass communication and interpersonal interaction. Use these media to:
  • Send individual messages via electronic mail using agency and partner mailing lists
  • Post program messages (such as information about health-related campaigns) on internet sites that large numbers of computer users access
  • Create and display advertisements
  • Survey and gather information from computer users
  • Engage intended audiences in personalized, interactive activities
  • Exchange ideas with peers and partners

Example of Effective Collaborative Effort with Community Leaders in Minnesota

If conversations are ongoing, understanding is likely to increase over time. For example, in Minnesota, there was a collaborative effort with the Minnesota Department of Health and community leaders to design and implement culturally appropriate education regarding consumption of contaminated fish, which include “education delivery” methods such as:

  • Sessions in anglers’ homes, as a version of the storytelling tradition and often involving elders
  • Day field trips that include bus travel to fishing sites. The education component was followed by a hands-on session of actual fishing and fish cutting and preparation
  • Several sessions ended with a communal meal of the caught fish prepared jointly by instructors and students
  • All activities are planned and take place under community sponsorship. Heads of community organizations promote and publicize the educational sessions and work with [the Department of Natural Resources] to recruit and enroll participants

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