The Massey Media Opinion On Twittering the Revolution

September 30, 2010 Place Opinions
The Massey Media Opinion On Twittering the Revolution

That’s right: the revolution will not be Twitterized. Online social networks are compliments to real organizing. As a workers’ rights advocate, my most important persuasion comes face-to-face, sitting with a worker, listening to their story of how their boss stole their wages, and propping them up as they stand to fight back. That’s simply not going to happen on Facebook and Twitter. For social change to come about, we need to create moments and opportunities to bring people into the movement and feel connected. We need to be brave. It’s too easy to turn off the text function on the phone. It’s a lot harder to march in the streets, sit-in at insurance companies that steal from the sick, and make visits to Congress to tell them we are holding them accountable. But that’s what it is going to take to get a real jobs plan and end the wars.

Sarah Massey posted in The New York Times.

Become a Media Activist

September 27, 2010 Make Headlines
Become a Media Activist

The front pages of our major news papers read like playbooks of failure.

Poor reporting of the news, ill-informed constituents, less than half of eligible Americans choosing to participate in voting, and corporations winning the power to run elections from the Supreme Court.  It’s about dominance and greed; and, when the powers that be don’t hear from regular folks, they ignore us.

It almost makes you want to bury your head in the blankets, but you can make change. I challenge you to do one thing today, which is learn how to be a media activist, meaning learn how to call your local newspaper newsroom with an alternative to the bad news your are seeing on the front page.

Pick a positive story. Do you know a local business that is going green? Do you know an arts group that is reaching kids in new ways?  What is good news for your community?  I specifically want you to find good news, because it is uplifting to audiences and works diametrically to the usual “if it bleeds, it leads” press mentality. This is a viewpoint that is used to scare people and make them afraid to act. Are you participating in a volunteer effort?  Call the press and tell them.

Find the general number for your favorite news outlet, call, and ask for the newsroom. When the reporter picks up say, “My name is such and such, and I have a story idea for you.” Explain your story and then say, “Thank you for listening to my pitch. I read your paper everyday, but I am tired of bad news. We need something different.”

Remember, it’s the media that persuades people that the problems we face are too hard to fix or that one group of people is dangerous. The media tells us that wars and consumerism are OK. Fox network has a larger viewership than all the other popular cable news outlets combined. And that’s not OK. You can do something about it.

Imagine if 10 people in your community called the paper today with a good news story. They’d have to print it. It would show them a demand.

Demand change.

Some helpful resources for media activism:

FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

SPIN Project

- Sarah

Stop The Press

September 12, 2010 Tell the Story
Stop The Press

The old movie line, “Stop the Press!,” is playing over and over in my head.  I wish that the images in front of me were those wonderful black and white ones from films like “The Front Page” where the reporter Hildy Johnson gets the story.  He literally stops the press and saves an innocent man from execution.

In fact,  Americans love “The Front Page.”   It was made into a film four times — two titled “The Front Page” in 1931 and 1974,  “Switching Channels” in 1988 and my favorite, the 1940 “His Girl Friday” with Gary Grant and Rosalind Russell, who plays the formerly male Hildy.

But today, the press publishes images in full color, which loop around and around with half truth, untruth, myth, and stunt.  I won’t repeat last week’ s major media topic to give it more “legs.”  No. Just please,“Stop the Press!” from running without the truth.

Where are our Hildys?  Come forward please!  “Stop the Press!”

The good news is that we all can be Hildys.   We can get to the truth and get it heard if we work at it.  Creation and innovation and justice are alive in our society.  We just need to use the right tactics to shout it out.

So today I am choosing to spotlight a Hildy who has done the job.  Today’s Hildy is in fact a team, Anmol Chaddha, a doctoral student, and William Julius Wilson, a professor at Harvard.  They “shout out” about the course they are teaching in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. They are using a favorite HBO show, “The Wire” to help students see the complexity of the causes of urban poverty. But, they take it to the level of “Owning the Press” by writing about their vision and sharing with readers of the Post. Theirs is a great story and a great tactic.

Let’s find some more Hildys.

- International Correspondent, Marilyn ChapinMassey

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) THANKS!

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