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The Favorites Game: Getting Big Attention for Little Associations

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, August 2012 Intelligence

Summary: MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard on her favorite on-air moment, summer reading, and more.

If your small organization has trouble competing with larger groups for media attention, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard has some advice: "Small-association leaders need to work hard to let members of the media know what they're doing, working on, and [thinking about] on various domestic and foreign policy issues. This means a lot more than sending out a press release. It means writing and publishing timely op-eds online and in print publications and then forwarding them to producers and bookers to let them know who you are, what you're thinking, and how they can reach you."

Bernard, who founded her own small nonprofit—the Bernard Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy—says micro-associations also must educate radio stations, and "being active on Facebook and Twitter is important as well." She is a big fan of Twitter, especially Topsy, a tweet-driven search engine. Here are other favorites:

Favorite app: Gilt Groupe, a shopping app.

Favorite on-air moment: Hosting the television program I created and coproduced for MSNBC called About Our Children in 2009 from my alma mater, Howard University. Our lead guest was Bill Cosby. That program was my third child.

Favorite moment of personal victory: As the former chairperson of the Washington, DC, Redevelopment Land Agency, closing the deal to finance the development of what was then called the MCI Arena (now the Verizon Center).

Favorite area of progress for women: Women in politics! We've had so many female secretaries of state in recent years that it isn't even noteworthy anymore.

Favorite female historical leader: A toss-up between Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.

Favorite summer reading: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.

Favorite hot spot for political gossip: Third-floor makeup room at NBC News (DC bureau).

Contributed by Kristin Clarke, a business journalist and writer for ASAE. Email:

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