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Be a Media Activist for Accountability, Prosecution, Peace


OPEN FOR HOW TO BE A MEDIA ACTIVIST

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Media tips: There's a one-hour call-in radio show offering free strategic media advice to callers. The program airs on the first Saturday of each month, from noon to 1 pm Pacific Time. Call 818-985-5735 or listen on line at www.kpfk.org

Media tips from UFPJ.

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And this one: http://www.flawedart.net/callingamerica

If you find an article that is reporting false claims post it here so everyone can respond to it. Both positive and negative articles.

At every opportunity...

Contact National Media Outlets.

Contact polling companies.

THEN PLEASE WORK ON YOUR LOCAL MEDIA:

Find media outlets here.

1. Basic Participation.
As a first step, everyone should phone local talk shows and make comments, and should write letters to the editors of local papers. Here's a guide to writing letters to the editor, provided by Congressman Conyers' office. Many newspapers prefer letters that respond to particular articles they've printed, but you can almost always find one that it makes sense to reply to with what you want to say anyway. It is very important that you say it in your own words. If editors receive the SAME letter from multiple people, that hurts the cause rather than helping it. After they're published, please post your letters here.

You should contact media outlets individually and take care to send your letters to the best address.

Send rejected letters to www.rejectedletterstotheeditor.com

2. Submit Op-Eds, also known as Columns.
As a second step, you should be submitting opinion columns to your local newspapers. Check the newspapers' websites or call them to find out length and other requirements. As a general rule, write 700 words. Do not criticize the newspaper -- do that in letters (see above). But DO passionately express your viewpoint. Do not exaggerate or make any claims you cannot back up. Submit along with your column any notes on sources of information that an editor might want to check to verify any claims you make. Try to be timely: write about the latest developments in Congress.

Make your claims in a way that can't be challenged. Don't say "Bush lied like a dog." Say "evidence strongly suggests that the President intentionally mislead us...." Only, DON'T say that. The most important thing is to use your own words. Do NOT copy someone else's. Doing so will hurt the campaign rather than helping it. Here are some examples of columns. Emulate them. Even quote from them or other sources. But don't plagiarize them! After they're published, please post your op-eds here.

3. Meet With Editorial Board.
This is a lot easier and a lot more effective than many people think. Ideally, it should be done by a delegation of three or four people representing an organization. Organizations that belong to our coalition and likely have chapters in your area are listed here. Contact one of them, take the lead, and organize a meeting with the editorial board of your local newspaper. Phone the paper and request such a meeting. Let them know that you represent local members of the After Downing Street coalition, a large national coalition of over 100 organizations. Tell them that you have information for them on legislation currently being considered in Congress, and on upcoming local events related to it (meetings of your group, public rallies, meetings with your Congress Member, etc. Find and create such events here.) If need be, create your own new organization. Use the events system and forums to get organized. Take with you to the meeting with the Ed Board several packets of information so that you can give one to each editor. Include a sheet with your contact information. And include useful materials like these:

Polls of American Opinion.
The eight Downing Street documents.
Bonifaz Memo to Conyers.
Bush Letter to Congress.
Conyers' Summary of Timeline.
Full timeline.
Article about After Downing Street.
Editorials you can select from.
Columns you can select from.
News articles you can select from.

Ask them to write an editorial.

If they are friendly, do not suggest that they need to write the editorial because other papers have done so. But share some of the editorials above with them if they want to see them. If they seem closed to the idea or hostile, or if they question whether any other paper has done this, then give them evidence. Ask them also to run guest columns on the topic.

And, if relevant people are in the room, ask also for better news coverage. Let them know about upcoming events. Here's an article done simply from a local Congress Member having signed Conyers' letter. That sort of thing can be done anywhere. They can also report on the latest bill or debate in Congress.

Write up short reports on how your meetings went, indicate whether we can publish them on this site, and submit them here.

Note that news departments are to various degrees separate from editorial departments. You should also set up a meeting with any reporters who cover politics but who are not part of the editorial board meeting.

4. Protest at Media Outlets
When all else fails, use public protests and civil disobedience. Here are some examples of how it's done:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/1143

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/1070

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/620

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/404

5. PSAs

Ask radio stations to air these PSAs.

Or buy ads.

BACKGROUND ON EARLY MEDIA COVERAGE OF DOWNING STREET MINUTES

Here's a summary of media coverage of the Downing Street Minutes during the first months of our campaign.

Worst Offenders:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/738

Contact the Media

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Be the Media: Wear Your Message on Your Shirt

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