How to Send a Clear Message

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on September 9th, 2005

Before your demonstration, articulate what you oppose and support in a single-sided flyer. Give it a short title. Sum your purpose up in one sentence, then highlight it.

Don’t get sidetracked. Every group has members with pet issues. A protest headlined “Vegans, Catholics, Feminists, Anarchists, Pacifists Unite!” is less likely to draw a crowd than one labeled “Unite Against War!” If it’s a vigil against factory farming by Kentucky Fried Chicken, then vegetarianism might belong in the title, but not otherwise.

Inform print, television, radio, and internet media of your protest. Make sure a core group is on the scene at least 10 minutes early. I cannot tell you how many times reporters arrive early to snap a photo of a fraction of the people who will ultimately turn out.

Be careful what you say to the press. Repeat a single, clear sentence describing your purpose, over and over.

Reporters are often busy and generally not well-informed about what you assume is common knowledge. They can enhance or ruin a good protest. A press release and spokesperson are vital. Polite follow-up on mistakes can improve future coverage and provide opportunities for you to write an opinion piece. You can nuture a good rapport with the press.

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On May 18, 2009 at 17:38 Tracey said:

    Hi there,
    I want to wage a protest against an insurance company. My best friends son, a 22 yr old Triathlete who emerged from a 6 month long coma needs to come home. The insurance company is refusing to pay the benefits he is entitled to for home renovations so this amazing, creative, kid is headed for a nursing home that will not give him the therapy he needs. Everybody (except those who know him) doubted that he would ever recover from such the serious brain injury he received in August. The faith of his family and friends, coupled with his amazing spirit and determination enabled a miracle to happen and he is recovering at an amazing rate. If he could be brought home we all know he would recover even quicker, and his mom and dad could actually sleep in their own beds instead of hospital chairs. This kid is VERY well liked and I think a lot of people would show up to champion his cause. Oops I rambled, that is the problem how do I state my case in a quick easy to understand manner, I cant explain all that to the reporters in one short sentence. Any help would be appreciated.

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