Going Behind the PR Curtain at Focus on the Family

Gary Schneeberger talks with journalism professors attending the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Comunication Annual Conference.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo–  What an experience to not only visit the worldwide headquarters of Focus on the Family, but also to talk with the man who fields all the media inquiries about this organization that is known for its sometimes controversial political stances.

The so-called “Protestant Vatican,” a nickname for Colorado Springs is about an hour south of Denver and worth the drive just to see the campus of Focus on the Family.

Gary Schneeberger, vice president of ministry of communications, addresses AEJMC attendees at a session at Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs.

Gary Schneeberger, vice president for ministry communications, was quite forthcoming about some of the media strategies that his organization is using to educate the public about the family founded by Dr. James Dobson.

Schneeberger talked about a recent controversy over an advertisement Focus on the Family placed during the Super Bowl earlier this year.

He also admitted that Focus on the Family, like many other organizations,  has had to play catch-up when it comes to embracing social media.   But, they’re catching up pretty well with a growing audience on Facebook

There’s a lot more about which to write from this visit here to Colorado Springs.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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