The power of the press

31 July 2010 | By Cause4 staff

Two weeks in and the Evening Standard Fund for The Dispossessed to fight poverty in London is flying. In making a donation of £100,000 donation, Pierre Lagrange, head of a substantial hedge fund, explained yesterday, ‘It was important for me that we do something about the less privileged who can be living next door to us, that we don't sweep them under the carpet and forget about them.’

The campaign has cultivated support from such a range of individuals, corporate organisations and charity partners and provides an important case-study model for large-scale campaigns. At its core lies a cause which has engaged supporters London-wide. Influential figures, politicians, celebrities and business moguls have endorsed or donated, while the Prime Minister has described it as a campaign which ‘is stirring the conscience of this city, moving people to act and donate.’ Most importantly, it has the backing of London’s biggest newspaper with an ability to reach 1.4 million Londoners on a daily basis.

It is the involvement of The Evening Standard that provides special interest to the Third Sector. Much has been written about the rise of new media, Web 2.0 and social networks - and not least by Cause4. But The Dispossessed Fund is a timely reminder of the part that so-called ‘old’ media has to play. The power of traditional media outlets still hold sway in providing mass publicity and engaging the general public.

Our conclusions: Embrace new media outlets, social networks and social media, the benefits of which are manifest. Don’t pursue new opportunities whilst ignoring the power of the traditional press as a vehicle for mass engagement, especially of those of a ‘certain age’, those with the means by which to provide substantial philanthropic support. All power to The Evening Standard!

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