- It would be great if groups pre-emptively engaged in sending press releases to the media with spokespeople identified and research highlighted about plastic bullets or any other news/messaging that needs to be heard — ideally your group is pro-active or at least responding in real time to news events with press releases and spokespeople, not scrambling to respond when asked. You should be reaching out daily with press releases to journalists and producers.
- A press release is one page, who what where why how, with a lead that grabs the reader. It should be emailed to every major news outlet with follow-up calls to producers and you should offer a dozen trained spokespeople who can explain the issue in sound bites. Media training 101: get THREE POINTS ACROSS in terms a high school student can understand. Wear bright colors (tops or ties). Choose a good cross-section of citizens — mums, working men, military etc. Don’t talk too long for TV. Short sentences and just stick to three main short points, you can’t go wrong. PLEASE SHARE.
- Spokespeople (or you can call them messengers) are not leaders and they don’t have to ‘represent’ all of the movement. They are communicators of your collective position or agenda. You don’t need a hierarchy to identify typical or representative or just eloquent members who will take on the task of speaking to the press. Again they don’t have to “speak for” everyone but if I can show up summarizing what I am seeing and pass on some concerns I see identified there is absolutely no reason other people can’t who are better positioned to because they are actually in the movement.
- Make it easy for producers – have a named publicity or press officer/s, with a list of trained individuals with one-sentence bios and head shots ideally they can contact and book rather than a general email that most producers might be reluctant to contact.
- Because … the press is just a bunch of exhausted, overworked, underpaid, usually young, female producers. They don’t have time or energy to research anything. All day long they get press releases and pitches form publicists and from corporate and political entities. But grassroots orgs never send press releases or pitches and don’t ID press officers that they can call to book stories with. Don’t ask me (exhausted, unpaid) or producers to go to your site to research why plastic bullets are wrong (as an example), you should TELL the media YOURSELF having put together the research and written a press release about why it is wrong … don’t leave it to overburdened producers or researchers to come to you …
- I don’t mean to harangue but this is super important. The media want to book you/present your point of view but you have to do what everyone you are fighting is doing and make it as easy for them as possible.
- Take the masks off! You are making it easy for provocateurs! Not cute, not funny.
- Occupy citizens should think of themselves as public figures and so even if they just wear masks for a day, a minute is all it takes to send a bad photo out there; everyone should think of him/herself as a public figure so what we do matters always and we should always be aware of how we appear or what visuals we are sending.
- SIT don’t march
- SING don’t chant
- DON’T cover your faces
- BE PEACEFUL no violence, no property destruction
- VIDEOTAPE police and post their images on a website esp if there is violence
- HAVE lawyers present (equivalent of National Lawyers’ Guild) observing and representing; memorize the lawyers’ numbers because you may not have your phone
- DON’T resist arrest. Lie down if it looks as if you are being charged by police.
- DON’T taunt or yell at or insult police.
- NON-VIOLENT PEACEFUL DISRUPTION of business as usual is the way to go.
- Carry the UK flag or some other patriotic symbol that makes it a BAD visual for you to be beaten.
- DON’T think short, sharp, militaristic strategy — think in terms of months or years and in terms of modelling a way of life, not a conflict.
That is the way Gandhi and MLK did it — other models, of violent marches instead of longstanding peaceful disciplined, uplifting, organized, inspiring disruption of business as usual, burn out, turn people away.
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