Artists and Community Enhance Life with Murals and Celebration

April 30, 2009 Public Art, Tell the Story

Earlier this month, I travelled with Albus Cavus to San Diego to celebrate the opening of the La Entrada art and community building project in the Barrio Logan section of San Diego. Young people, local muralists, musicians, and planners joined together to make a new housing development for families shine with two-story art murals that reflect the diverse community. This project, organized by the Prism Process, illustrates the mission of Albus Cavus and like-minded groups to promote development of strong and healthy communities by involving the residents in projects that result in improved public, gathering and common spaces.

Check out my little homage video for the project.

At Massey Media, our mission is to build the capacity of organizations like Albus Cavus to reach their audiences through strategic communications planning and media relations. In a nutshell, we help tell stories that compel people to action. We partner with clients who share our vision of a planet that is healthier and happier. La Entrada exemplifies how communities can come together and create public art and healthy housing that lift people up.

Read more about La Entrada and Prism Process at Albus Cavus blog.

- Sarah Massey

Lacy MacAuley steps up to coordinate global justice media

April 27, 2009 Social Justice, Tell the Story

My feet are sore, my voice is scratchy, my dishes are piled high. I’ve just completed another fantastic weekend to give voice to global justice.

I’d been organizing these actions with Global Justice Action, a fantastic and spirited group in the Washington DC area, for five months. We planned a weekend of action April 24-26 to oppose the neoliberalist agenda during the bi-annual meetings held between two very destructive organizations, the IMF and the World Bank. I helped with some of the more colorful tasks, such as throwing a fundraiser and driving around to “liberate” sign-making materials, but my main role in the group was to help with the media outreach.

About three weeks before our actions, G20 decision-makers met to address the global economic crisis. Ridiculously, they decided that they would address the crisis by prescribing more of the bad medicine that got us into this mess in the first place. They decided they would work to give the IMF another $1.1 trillion in funds – sort of like deciding to give a drug dealer control of the rehab.

Neoliberalist policies that the IMF is built upon push countries’ economies further into the hole, and make the lives of people in the Third World a lot harder. Whether in the name of economic growth or human development, the IMF’s fundamental role is highly problematic. Most countries would be better off if the IMF had never stepped in at all.

The IMF’s failings are one reason not to choose them to bail us out. But there are other absurdities in choosing to fund them in our time of need. The IMF is a bank like any other, not a charity organization. It makes its billions off of the interest it collects when it makes emergency loans to countries who find themselves in crisis… why would it be to the IMF’s benefit to try to help countries toward long-term sustainability?

This proposed boon of $1.1 trillion to the IMF, as frustrating as it was, gave our planned actions that much more significance. We were able to quickly pivot our messaging to include not only broad condemnation for these institutions, but to oppose the $1.1 trillion. We incorporated these concepts into messaging for all of our creative forms of resistance – the 5K Run on the Bank, the punk show, the roving exercise-themed dance party, the People’s Economic Forum (eight hours of our own solutions to the economic crisis!), the family-friendly march, and more.

We wound up with a very high volume of press coverage for the weekend, including several major print outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and all major TV news outlets such as ABC, CNN, and Fox News. It was nice to know that our impact was enhanced through these venues.

The outcome? Global decision-makers and the world got a clear message that the global justice movement is back.

~ Lacy MacAuley

Presshits: … Continue Reading

Unemployment LifeLine Campaign a Continuing Success!

logo_lifeline

On April 7th, with the help of Massey Media, the AFL-CIO and Working America launched the Unemployment Lifeline campaign.

This online resource is the first of it’s kind, synthesizing aspects of Wikipedia and Facebook to create a new “one stop shop” approach to out of work Americans dealing with unemployment.

Simply by entering your zip code, you gain access to a wealth of information and resources as well as an entire community of people to offer support. UnemploymentLifeLine.com is a living, growing resource that users can add useful contacts to and add their own comments about their experience.

Here is one of our clips that was syndicated by NBC in over 18 media markets:

http://nwahomepage.com/content/fulltext_news/?cid=81071

Check it out!

- Lyle Harrod

AmazonFail and the lessons of new media

On the internet, your image is all you have. As bookselling giant Amazon.com discovered this weekend, a long history of integrity can be destroyed by rumors and disorganized public relations. Amazon’s lag in response time to what they labeled a “glitch” lost them, at least temporarily, their reputation in the progressive blogosphere.

It was an illustration of just how fast “new media” works: on Friday a few authors found that their books were no longer showing up on Amazon’s ranking system. While this doesn’t seem like a major issue, as the Denver Internet Examiner explains, Overall, the sales rank delisting may seem like a minor issue, but it can have a very serious impact for publishers and authors of lesser known works which depend on the sales ranking to get noticed and help spread the word. Amazon pulls unranked books from all department search results. As more and more works were found to have lost their ranking over the weekend, bloggers started investigating. There was a theme: almost all the works that had lost their ranking were classified as gay/lesbian works. These works no longer would show up if a user searched under “homosexuality”; instead, the first search item that comes up is A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, followed closely by Can Homosexuality Be Healed?. A screencap of search results Mark Probst blogged about Amazon’s response to his query about his book The Filly being deranked: “In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude ‘adult’ material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists.” The blogosphere went nuts. Censorship! Within hours, longtime Amazon customers were declaring their intention to boycott the company, return their Kindles, and googlebomb “Amazon Rank.” “#Amazonfail” was the number one Twitter hash tag over the weekend. And books, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar, Stephen Fry’s autobiography, and EM Forester’s classic Maurice were deranked, while the Playboy Centerfold Collection, classified as “photography,” still showed up in searches.

Meanwhile, Amazon issued no official statement. The vast majority of the internet angst occurred on Easter Sunday, perhaps compounding the problem. The unresponsiveness fueled a lot of the outrage: Amazon, a web-based business, was acting like a brick-and-mortar store, not responding in the timely manner the web culture demands. No one seemed to be in charge of giving a definitive answer as to what was happening or why. Rumors swirled; was this the work of a homophobic hacker? Amazon reps gave conflicting reports, but no official statement was issued for several days. The report that one rep was calling the entire fiasco a “glitch” further enraged some bloggers.

Amazon has since apologized, calling the matter “an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error” by an employee in France. (When in doubt, blame the French.) It turns out that more than 57,000 items were affected. Amazon stock, which had been going up, lost value on Sunday. We’ve yet to see what the fallout will be, or whether the negative publicity will last in the minds and pocketbooks of the public.

Public relations is a changing business. The ever-present eye of the blogosphere doesn’t take “it’s a holiday” as an excuse not to have an official statement. In addition, Amazon ignored the changing face of media; they responded as if they were dealing with print newspapers, who can’t file stories if they aren’t in by deadline, and need official quotes to file. Today, journalism is changing. When everyone can document their experience in their own personal blog, PR has to be able to respond to the new reality that every customer can also be a publisher.

At Massey Media, we make it a point to include new media in our outreach strategy. The blogosphere often generates stories that eventually end up in newspapers, so blog outreach is an important part of getting your story into the public mind and consciousness. New tools like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are essential in the new media reality.

- Janaki Spickard-Keeler

The Future of Journalism and Democracy

It’s not a pretty time to be a journalist. At the very moment when they’re covering unemployment and layoffs, many are facing these realities for themselves. All over, newspapers are filing for bankruptcy and cutting staff or closing down operations. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Baltimore Examiner are just three, and many more are expected.

Is this the beginning of the end of America’s free press?

Perhaps the more important question is, are newspapers essential to an informed citizenry and thus a free, open democracy? Slate.com’s Jack Shafer thinks not; he rejects the notion that newspapers “make us better citizens, wiser voters, and more enlightened taxpayers.” Senator Benjamin Cardin, D-MD, however, takes the view that newspapers are our premiere source of investigative journalism, which is an important check on the power of corporations and government. Internet and broadcast journalism relies heavily on print journalism to uncover the stories that affect the lives of citizens. Cardin is alarmed enough about the danger to democracy that he has introduced a bill to change the business model of newspapers from one based on circulation and advertising to a tax-free, non-profit, educational model.

More and more people are news consumers these days; they’re just not reading newspapers. Trends suggest that broadcast journalism may be past its peak as well. Instead, people are going online for their news. Blogs have become the first news destination for many younger readers. The fear is that blogs are not necessarily nonpartisan, are largely opinion-based, and often don’t have the time or budget to research stories to the extent that newspapers did.

In a sign of the times, last week Arianna Huffington announced the Huffington Post will hire recently laid-off investigative reporters for the online blog. The Huffington Post Investigative Fund will be a nonprofit entity that will employ both staff writers and freelancers. While this indicates that the demise of newspapers may not spell the demise of investigative journalism, there is considerable skepticism–both in the blogosphere and in the print media–that the left-leaning Huffington Post will make use of that journalism in a nonpartisan way.

- Janaki Spickard-Keeler

Massey Media’s Blog

Own the Press was founded on the belief that news makes things happen, and you can make your own news. The big vision is that the world needs more good news to create positive change. Own the Press has three purposes:  
1. To give you the tools to makes your own news.  
2. To give you examples of good journalism.
3. To bring you good news.

You will find articles on how to own the press (tactics) in the Massey Media Toolkit.  We have organized examples of using these tactics under five rubrics.
1. Be Seen demonstrates the necessity and power of the visual.
2. Make Headlines is how to create news.
3. Place Opinions is an important, but often overlooked, way of owning the press.
4. Create Buzz Online illustrates the many ways to grow your audience.  
4.Tell Your Story is really the first and most basic skill you need to own the press.

We are glad that you have joined us in this endeavor. Together, we can change the world, one headline at a time.

Have an idea for a post? Please email us info(at)massey-media.com. THANKS!

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