MEDIA AND MESSAGING; WORKING AS A TEAM; LOGISTICS
1. Media and messaging
Depending on the nature of the action, engaging with the media may be key. Creating and maintaining, a comprehensive list of media email addresses, and the timely dissemination of a press release (e.g. 24hrs before an action), can help ensure messaging is widely heard.
An effective press release, should provide pertinent detail in the form of the 5Ws. These being: What, Who, Where, When, Why; noting that the Why should extend no longer than a short paragraph.
Summarizing and conveying as much information as possible with just a few words can take some practice. Messaging should be brief and tight. However, being able to meaningfully expand on the messaging when required, is important – this may require some research.
Understanding and developing good relations with the media is useful for getting messaging heard.
Depending on the degree of disruption, it is useful to consider informing the media under embargo prior to the action, via a press release. In the case of extremely disruptive actions, or in countries where press embargo cannot be guaranteed, this information may be delivered anonymously to coincide with the action.
Whether by directly engaging with the media, or operating anonymously, significantly disruptive actions will gain positive and/or negative media attention. ‘Negative’ media coverage is not necessarily a bad thing – it can create awareness and discussion.
2. Working as a team
Solo actions can be very effective. Working with others requires good team communications to help keep actions on track.
Appropriate use of communication builds trust and efficiency. Communications should contain a clear subject/s, the language should be succinct and pleasantly neutral in tone. Be sure to consider why and what needs to be communicated prior to choosing the platform by which the information is conveyed.
|Face to face||Face to face communications should be the go-to form of communication as it contributes to building and maintaining trust.|
When possible, always use face to face communication for matters of importance i.e. clarifying action details and roles, group tensions, mismatched expectations.
Use this method to avoid misunderstandings and ensure all parties are on the same page.
|Phone/video||Use a phone/video call as an alternative to face to face when an in person conversation isn’t possible.|
Phone/video calls are excellent for virtual team meetings, group check-ins and when verbal prompting/instructions are needed.
Phone/video calls are the second best way to avoid miscommunications and misinterpretations.
|Email risks misinterpretation and misunderstandings. However, it can be useful when trying to keep track of details, or when conveying a large amount of information to an individual or group.|
|Text||Text messaging should be avoided for most communication of consequence and should not be used for in depth instructions or requests.|
Text messaging can be used for immediate check-ins before or after actions.
Be considerate when texting a group member after hours, and on weekends, unless they have indicated its okay.
Prior to implementing an action, allocate and rehearse respective roles e.g. spokesperson, safety and wellbeing personnel, police liaison. Make a list of items required for the action, necessary timeframes, and who is responsible for begin what, where and when on the day.
Is legal advice and/or legal support needed?
Training and skills development build capacity within the group and can be drawn from the plethora of resources online. Where specific capacity is required for a complex disruptive action, seek out expertise and experience without disclosing details to those outside the group.
Use a SWOT analysis to brainstorm what might go wrong (and right) with an action (below). Make contingencies where needed.