Dads Belief Statement Dads for Marijuana is a grassroots network of "Dads" and other concerned citizens determined to eradicate prohibition around the world. It is up to all of us, from all nations, to bring forth truth and knowledge pertaining to the cannabis/marijuana/hemp plant and all of its many viable uses. We must do this in order to bring forward a better and brighter future for generations to come. ~Peace Always~
It is Dads for Marijuana's beliefs: To create a continuous growth of chapters world-wide, consisting of like-minded fathers and concerned citizens who believe Cannabis is the solution to many of the issues facing all of us on a global level. We have a voice that compares to the very successful Moms for Marijuana. With this our mission is to educate and eradicate ignorance where the cannabis and hemp plant are concerned.
By Michael (PuffDog) Thomas Dads for Marijuana Internationalâ€™s Founder
Table of Contents
Welcome To Dads ____________________________________________________________________ 4 Chapter Leader Requirements __________________________________________________________ 5 Our Mission _________________________________________________________________________ 6 Chapter Leader Guidelines _____________________________________________________________ 7 Types of Chapters______________________________________________________________ 8 Motivation ___________________________________________________________________ 9 Political Involvement ___________________________________________________________ 10 Communication _______________________________________________________________ 10 Email & Phone ________________________________________________________________ 11 Snail Mail & Outreach __________________________________________________________
Social Networking _____________________________________________________________
Where to Find Posts ___________________________________________________________
Posting Schedule ______________________________________________________________ 16 Marijuana- We Talk About it Daily ______________________________________________________ 17 How to Conduct a Vigil _______________________________________________________________ 18 -20 Conducting Rallies and Marches _______________________________________________________
Preliminary Logistics â€“ Initial Meeting _____________________________________________
Site Logistics _________________________________________________________________
Table of Contents
How to Make the News - Working With the Media ________________________________________
Creating Your Media List________________________________________________________
Contact Information ___________________________________________________________
Writing a News Release ________________________________________________________
The Components of a New Release _______________________________________________
Sending Out Your Releases ______________________________________________________
Promoting Your Event __________________________________________________________ 29 Dealing with Media ____________________________________________________________ 30 How to be interviewed by the Media ______________________________________________ 30-32 Making a Media Kit ____________________________________________________________
Following up after an Event ______________________________________________________ 33 Tips on Writing Effective Letters to the Editor ________________________________________ 34 Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) _________________________________
Welcome to Dads for Marijuana Welcome you to the â€œDadsâ€? family. As parents we all understand the importance of teaching our children the truths. Our governments have lied to us for long enough and now it is our responsibility to tell the truth and teach our children as well as others that the propaganda over marijuana/cannabis/hemp is based on lies and has cost society financially, emotionally and spiritually. At Dads for Marijuana, we stand united. We are like a huge family and like all family units we have guidelines that help us work together and stay together. In this manual you will find the guidelines that make our family work. There are always others there to help if you should have any questions or are just not sure about something. We are a dedicated, creative and passionate team of parents and other citizens working together for change. We are happy that you have chosen to be part of that change. Welcome to Dads!
Chapter Leader Requirements
Things we need from every chapter leader: - Name Preferred name (to be used publicly and for your personal email at dadsformarijuana.org) - Contact Info - mailing address, telephone and alternate email - Pic & Testimonial for website *Send these to firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that all Dads for Marijuana related pages will be created by the Dads for Marijuana Chapter Communications Committee. Chapter Leaders are responsible for; - communication with International & other sub-chapters - maintaining page and group with cannabis related posts and discussion - providing us with dates of events so we can help promote - provide us with copies & links of news articles and photos featuring Dads for Marijuana's name - submitting a financial report each month if the chapter takes donations. (we will discuss this more further on in the manual)
*Please note that only â€œOfficial Chaptersâ€? may take in donations
Our Mission Statement All chapters & subchapters must agree with and promote the Dads for Marijuana Mission Statement: Dads for Marijuana is a grassroots network of parents and other citizens across the world, who are concerned with the ignorant war that continues to be fought against the cannabis plant and how it is negatively affecting the future generations of this earth. We focus on raising awareness, promoting education, and creating discussion in our local communities. It is Dads for Marijuana's beliefs; That the Cannabis/Hemp plant is a renewable, sustainable, and versatile resource that has been overlooked and distorted for too long. That our governments should research and utilize all the potential benefits of this plant, and encourage locally grown Cannabis/Hemp products be made available to the public through a taxed and regulated market. That as with all drugs, Marijuana should not be used by developing minds under the age of legal consent, without parental guidance, as well as the recommendation and continuous evaluation by a licensed medical physician. That the access our children have to the drug, Marijuana, can be drastically reduced through legalization and regulation. In order to keep this drug out of the hands of our kids, Marijuana needs to be taken off of streets and away from the black market. That our children should be educated on all aspects of Cannabis; from the thousands of medical, recreational, industrial, agricultural, environmental, spiritual, and economic benefits to the repercussions, risks and history associated with the Cannabis/Hemp plant.
Dads for Marijuana Chapter Guidelines Getting started Starting Your Own Dads for Marijuana Chapter is one of the most effective ways to help educate the public about cannabis. A community organization gives you recognition with the media, government officials and the public. The size of your chapter doesn’t really matter – a small handful of motivated people can really make a difference! However, the more you reach out in your area, the more people will want to get involved. The purpose of these chapter guidelines is to ensure uniformity between chapters. We want all chapters to have the same essence and going in the same direction, so if a person goes to a meeting or rally in one location, they can go to a meeting or a rally in another area and expect the same experience. These requirements are subject to change as we grow. Don’t worry if your chapter is not fully functioning at first. Organization takes time and a lot of effort. It is a lot of hard work and each chapter leader must be dedicated to the formation and activities of her chapter. Don’t get discouraged by low turn outs and low publicity. As long as you keep going, everything will come together.
Types of Chapters There are several kinds of chapters and your chapter will grow with you. First there is the Main Chapter, such as the State/Province chapter. The Main Chapter will have subchapters within it and all Chapter leaders of the subchapters work together at maintaining the Main Chapter. Second there is the Subchapter. Subchapters fall under the Main Chapter and represent the town, city or county. As a Chapter Leader you are expected to work with other chapter leaders under the Main Chapter. You are responsible for; - directing your subchapter - working together with other subchapters in your state/province or country - your logo will be the Main Chapter’s logo. o For example, Oregon has subchapters in Portland and Eugene. These subchapters make the main chapter: Oregon Dads for Marijuana as well as its subchapters, Portland and Eugene use the Oregon Dads for Marijuana logo. - Local Members/Directorso Determine hierarchy of your local group. For example: Chapter Leader Communications/Public Relations Secretary Finances • Always provide Dads for Marijuana International information of all persons who hold these positions – name, phone number and email. Email all information to email@example.com
In addition to having your Main Chapter and Subchapter you have different types of Chapters as follows; Starter Chapter â€“ Starter chapters do most of the work on their Facebook page and in their Facebook group. Both are maintained with postings on cannabis such as news articles, pics, videos, recipes etcâ€ŚThey may do most of what an Official Chapter does such as letter writing to politicians and cold calling politicians, holding events or participating in public rallies however they do not take in donations. Official Chapters â€“ Official Chapters are chapters that have been registered with the State/Province as a non-profit organization. In addition, to maintaining a Facebook page and group, working with other cannabis groups, politicians, holding events and rallies, they may take in donations and hold fundraisers.
Motivation! It is really important to keep your group busy! Members will come and go, but you want to utilize everyone's talents when you can and where they will be most effective. Artistic people can help with making posters; writers can help develop brochures or compose emails to politicians; and activists in video or photography classes can help get a show on cable access or document your group's activities with photos. Make a point of finding out what skills your members have and when they are available to help. People generally enjoy doing things that they are good at. And you may find a talented graphic artist in your group who can help with flyers, banners or brochures. A math whiz who can help with finances. Or more! Some groups may want to form small committees that focus on specific issues (cannabis as medicine, hemp as food and industry, political advocacy, etc.), while others may choose to create committees based on upcoming events. This way, people are working on issues that interest them and all of the responsibility is not left to one person.
Political Involvement Dads for Marijuana is not involved politically in any way and will always refer people to legal and medical professionals. If you choose to have an opinion regarding politics on a personal level that is okay, but do not use Dads for Marijuana to promote a specific candidate or tell people how to vote. If a candidate or political matter relates to Cannabis we talk about it. But when it comes to Cannabis legalization, every initiative is a step forward towards the ultimate goal of giving this plant back to the people, and it is okay to suggest to people to vote for Cannabis. If there is more than one initiative, you may advise people to sign and vote for all of them. Do NOT tell people WHO to vote for.
Communication This is the most important responsibility you have as a chapter leader. Communication is the key to success, and it is vital that you communicate effectively with the Executive Board of Directors, Officers, Communications Committee, other Committees within Dads for Marijuana International as well as other Chapter Leaders and members of your local group. Ask questions! There is never a bad time for questions, nor is there ever a bad question. The Board and officers are here to help you succeed. We can’t help you if you don’t tell us what is wrong. If you are having issues with communication from someone, contact an officer of the Communications Committee. If you are still having an issue please contact Michael DussaultJensen by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are having issues with communication from Michael – BUG THE HELL OUT OF HIM UNTIL HE RESPONDS!!
• AT NO TIME IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO BE RUDE … REMEMBER YOU REPRESENT DADS (Refer to the Code of Conduct for further information) 11
Be Accessible! In order to be reached by potential members, the media, and the public, it is vitally important for a new group to have a method of communication available.
Email You will receive a personal email through the Dadsformarijuana.org website, but it is also suggested to create an alternate email address for your chapter. You will also need to empty your Dadsformarijuana.org email often to preserve space for incoming messages and we recommend using a forwarding address such as gmail.com to archive all messages you receive (in case of loss, or need to find a specific personâ€™s email). Use the words Dads for Marijuana, Dads4Marijuana, or Dads4MJ & your chapter name in your email address. For example, TreasureValleyDads4Marijuana@gmail dot com refers to the chapter. Once you have created the alternate email forward a copy of all mail you receive to that email address for backup and send the email address to email@example.com .
Phone A phone number and snail mail address are also strongly recommended, but not required. You can purchase a no-contract cell phone that is designated solely for your Dads for Marijuana chapter. These are inexpensive, and will protect your personal privacy. Record some information about your new chapter on the phoneâ€™s voicemail (for example: how often you meet as a group, how to find your chapterâ€™s information online, and our Mission Statement). Be sure to announce the date, time and location of your next meeting and any upcoming important rallies or cannabis-related events. When responding to calls, sound enthusiastic and excited (the more interested you sound in them, the more likely people will be to participate)! 12
Snail Mail You might also consider renting a post office box locally. These boxes are usually reasonably priced and allow you to protect your privacy at home.
NEVER USE YOUR HOME ADDRESS IN PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS…YOU MAY BE PUTTING YOURSELF AT RISK!
Outreach It will take time and work to find other people in your area who are dedicated to helping your chapter to succeed. Don’t get discouraged! Just keep going. As time goes on, and word of your meetings and rallies spreads, the interested and like-minded individuals will come out of the woodwork. Just remember that most of them are afraid of being public about their support of cannabis, especially if it threatens jobs, their families, or their freedom. They will see you and feel better about being more public about their support. Often they will find courage to come out of the shadows and join with you because of your own courage, especially as your group gets larger and they don’t feel like they are the only one standing up for this. To find new members, it is important to promote, promote, promote!! Your public meet & greet is designed specifically to give others a chance to join you. Promote it everywhere! Carry flyers for the meeting in your purse, and leave them in as many places you can think of. Often times, stores in your community will place flyers and signs to help promote local groups. 13
Social Networking We require that each Main Chapter have a Facebook page, in addition each subchapter must have a Facebook group page. Facebook is our primary source of networking right now. Utilizing social networking websites is of letting the public know of your chapter’s activities. Some of the social networks are as follows; -
Myspace Twitter Reddit Meetup LinkedIn Google+ … Just to name a few.
Be sure to put your chapter’s contact information on these pages! You can also create a website, but this is not required at this time. You might consider creating an online blog for your Dads for Marijuana Chapter. There are several websites that host blogs at no cost. It is also a good idea to post in your local classifieds about events and rallies as well as the need for volunteers. Don’t forget to list your meet & greet information, and social networking information! Links: FaceBook, Myspace, Twitter, Reddit, etc... by incuding the links. For example: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Dads4MjInternational/ . Post events in local classifieds such as Craigslist, Kijiji and other local classified for free.
Posting Schedule & Guidelines Guidelines Acceptable Posts - Cannabis related - Cannabis propaganda - Cannabis facts - Cannabis studies - Cannabis pictures - Cannabis articles - Cannabis documentaries - Cannabis songs - Cannabis music - Cannabis interviews - Cannabis recipes
Not Acceptable Posts - NOT cannabis related rude and degrading sexually oriented not family friendly - Rude and disrespectful comments towards Dads for Marijuana or any of its members (This could result in disciplinary actions including dismissal). *refer to Code of Conduct
Where to find Posts
A few good places to find things to post are as follows; - Main Facebook page - Dads for Marijuana International on Face Book - Dads for marijuana list list - Dads for Marijuana Chapter List - Our website - www.Dadsformarijuana.org - NORML - www.norml.org - Toke of the Town - www.tokeofthetown.com - The Weed Blog - www.weedblog.com - Americans for Safe Access - www.safeaccessnow.org - SAFER - www.saferchoice.org - Students for Sensible Drug Policy - www.ssdp.org - Radical Russ - www.radicalruss.com - Drug Policy Alliance - www.drugpolicy.org - Pro-Con.org - http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org You may also Google - marijuana, news, cannabis, etc. Google also offers you the option of receiving alerts on subjects of interest. Simply add words such as cannabis, hemp and marijuana to your preferences and set it up to send alerts to your inbox daily. To keep things mainly educational on these pages, please only post links to our store and merchandise for sale on Fridays- TO COME
Posting Schedule To help figure out what to post on your pages and in your groups, please try to post according to the following schedule: Mondays- News, stories/testimonials, research Tuesdays- Cannabis recipes, grow tips Wednesdays- Cannabis documentaries, educational information Thursdays- Cannabis events, stories/testimonials, website information Fridays - Merchandise from Mom Store/Cafepress, other Cannabis related items for sale Saturdays - Cannabis related music videos Sundays- Donation requests, Quilt Fund, Dads Fund, etc, Victim Stories, Testimonials
Anything Cannabis related can be posted any day of the week, just try to focus on these themes as much as possible, and it will become habitual. We are hoping this will help some of you to provide a steady flow of information through your pages, even if you only post one or two a day. Just remember the more you post, the more attention your page will get, and the more people you will reach. PLEASE do not pay to promote posts, just post a lot instead. :) One suggestion for all pages - we don't want to become an organization that's all about asking for donations. Unless we have a fund raiser that is set within a certain time line (like our auctions, or needs for the quilt) choose one day to post about merchandise and donations (we chose Friday, and Sunday, for our main page). We want it out there, but we are about education, and awareness, not about money.
Marijuana Marijuana…we talk about it daily. We all know its benefits and how it has been around for more than 5000years. We also know that it has only been labeled as the “bad & evil” drug for approximately 80 years. Our job is to focus on bringing awareness to the public skeptics on the 4000 plus years of benefits. Focus on its industrial use (hemp), its medicinal use (patients sick and terminally ill), its religious use (rituals), spiritual use (native and middle east) and recreational use (marijuana being safer than alcohol and cigarettes). As you will read in the previous posting guidelines explain, there are many places to find that information. We have provided you with a few. Because of the name of our organization you will be asked, and possibly quite frequently, “Where can I get some pot?” or “Where can I find some RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)?” We DO NOT help people “score”, “set up” to get marijuana. It not only puts you at risk, it jeopardizes the reputation of our organization. You CAN however, refer them to known doctors, clinics or other organizations that may be able to help someone in need of medicinal marijuana or its derivatives such as Compassion Centres and dispensaries who deal with these types of request. You CAN refer them to online websites that work with medicinal marijuana patients. However, when referring anyone for medicinal marijuana, ALWAYS state that although Dads for Marijuana is not in the selling of marijuana, we have heard of Compassion Centres and Dispensaries that may be able to help and leave them to do the rest. NEVER put yourself in an “at risk” situation, no matter how much you want to help. NEVER refer them to a “dealer” or “friend” who may have some.
How to Conduct a Vigil.
(Think - the Occupy Movement)
Conducting a Vigil A vigil at its best is a delicately wrought instrument for communication. Its notable features are composure, watchfulness, and persistence. There are several styles, each with their own purpose. One emphasizes just being there. Relatives who gather at a mine entrance when disaster strikes donâ€™t organize themselves. They can do little except stay there. Often, persistence is the key. For example, the vigil at Fort Detrick, the germ warfare research center in Maryland, lasted for 22 months. For one full year, the vigil was kept every day from 7 am to 5 pm, not missing an hour. The Times Square vigil against the Vietnam War occurred every Saturday from 1964 through 1973. In 1960, a thousand Quakers stood in silence for two days around the Pentagon. This vigil emphasized inward reflection, composure and maximum impact on those who saw it. Individual vigils reflect the style of the person doing them, usually emphasizing the opportunity to talk with those who show interest. Silence may be appropriate if the vigil is protracted or well publicized. Otherwise, talking seems more useful than silence. Perhaps one of the most effective single person vigils was conducted outside the White House protesting the Vietnam War. President Nixon had become so irritated at the vigilâ€™s presence that he ordered his aides to get rid of the protestor.
Conducting a Vigil
The following suggestions are offered for groups numbering from a few people to a few hundred, for a time lasting several hours or several days.
1. Establish the pattern, possibly a line or circle, where the vigil can be readily seen, and not easily disrupted by passersby. But be careful not to block entrances, sidewalks or passageways. 2. Stand far enough apart to extend the line as much as practicable (e.g., an armâ€™s length or two apart). This increases the visual impact of the group, and minimizes temptation to chat and socialize. 3. Try to maintain silence and composure while on vigil. Those who talk with each other on line will be perceive by observers as more interested in each other than in communicating their message. If a passerby wants to talk, suggest that the two of you go aside to do so, while the vigil continues uninterrupted. Answer brief questions on the spot. 4. Those passing out leaflets should be separated from the vigil line. 5. To talk, smoke, or rest, leave the line and go to one side. 6. Choose a special spot where coats, gear and other items can be left and kept under observation. Otherwise, the clutter around a vigil of several hours can assume distracting, even amusing proportions. 7. A vigil intently kept can become very tiring. Individuals may withdraw for a time. Possibly at half hour intervals the whole line can walk around in an orderly fashion, such as an oval, for a few minutes. Do this more often on cold or rainy weather. This should not be considered as a "break" in the vigil but as a part of it. 8. Monitors should avoid scurrying about, or giving loud instructions to distant parts of the line. 9. If geography permits, stay behind the line. Minimize the need to give instructions by holding advance briefing or giving an explanation sheet to the participants.
10. Those at each end of the line can do much to set the tone, by their demeanor and by faithfully maintaining the spirit of the vigil. They are usually the first to be seen, and instantly communicated something at the group. Example is by far the best way for participants to help each other remember and maintain their purpose. 11. The silence line should not be seen as an imposed structure to present a certain image, but as a design providing a wide range of opportunities for the participants. Some like to concentrate on eye contact with those who pass by, in cars or on the sidewalk. Others will consider it a religious observance. Yet others will think or reflect, or just stand there. 12. Use signs sparingly. For particularly long vigils, wither individuals or the group may wish to keep a diary of thoughts, conversations, and follow-up opportunities. This material can later be used for reports, etc. 13. Large vigils require careful organization and planning. The larger the vigil, the more difficult it is to start. Avoid herding techniques that sometimes result when situations go awry. In brief sessions, as participants to help get things underway with patience and good humor.
Conducting Rallies and Marches
Rallies The primary purpose of a rally is to gather as many people as possible to show how much support a particular issue has. Ideally, this will generate publicity through the mass media, depending on the numbers, the issue, who is speaking, etc. Rallies also educate, stimulate further action, raise money, energize supporters, serve notice on the opposition, and help build coalitions. Compared to many other types of actions, rallies involve little risk, have high visibility, and are often fun. However, rallies involve a number of potential problems. - They are particularly weather sensitive - bad weather can lower the turnout enormously. - Because numbers are important, a poor turnout can be disastrous; * Politically (It may appear the cause has little support, thereby encouraging your opponents) * Financially (Collections and sales at the rally are critical in overcoming the debt mounted in organizing) * Emotionally (Organizers and supporters who do show may be demoralized). Even a good turnout does not guarantee mass media coverage. In addition, rallies are often long, usually have too many speakers and not enough music, the speakers frequently say nothing new, and the whole event is passive and evokes a party-image atmosphere to many onlookers. Knowing these things allows you to plan more efficiently.
Rallies and Marches (continued) Recognizing that there are different considerations for different rallies, some items in the checklist below will not be appropriate or feasible for some events.
Preliminary Logistics Initial Meeting - Develop structure for overall coordination - Select date with minimal conflicts and a lot of symbolism - Set a time which will avoid darkness and allow people to arrive and return - Location… Is it accessible for the handicapped? Is there sufficient parking? Is shuttling necessary? - Sound … Any problems with sound? Is it too big or too small? - Permits …What permits are necessary? - Exits … Are exits adequate for dispersal? - Timetable Brainstorm tasks that need to be done, and pit on timeline - Set up task forces for specific areas needing coordination (e.g., program, logistics, housing, finances, peacekeepers, media, outreach, sales) - Recruit staff - Advertising … Leaflets, posters, buttons, stickers, ads, camera-ready materials for organizers - Publicity … Articles in newsletters; emails to sympathetic lists - Endorsements Prominent individuals to "legitimize" the rally and attract people - Organizations - coalition building to secure material, political, staff, and monetary support - Fund Raising … Get loans and contributions to front money for event - Prepare for a post-rally fund appeal - Media … Initial press release/conference - Ongoing work: contacts, releases, interview programs
Rallies and Marches (continued) Rallies Site Logistics - Stage Locate or build suitable stage - Chairs for speakers/entertainers - Podium Rain and sun protection … Establish press area near stage - Sound system - sufficient microphones for musicians - Security … A security system to limit access to stage - Permits … Permits Obtain permits well in advance - Insurance & Deposits … Are insurance or clean-up deposits necessary? - Facilities …Toilets If long rally with a lot of people, you need to rent toilets - First Aid … Medical Nurse/doctor and first aid equipment (ambulance for very large rally) - Food Vendors Set up booths for food and drinks – a good way to raise money! - Directions … If location not obvious, put up signs or station people to direct participants - Stage Decorations … Have banners made for stage with official slogans/names - Clean-up … Create and delegate a “Clean-up Crew” Have trash cans available at site Bring bags and brooms to help collect trash. Make sure your Clean-up Crew will stay to help clean up. - Legal … Have legal team/observers assembled if expecting any trouble from authorities or counter-demonstrators. - Transportation … Have vehicles available for speakers and material transportation - Program … Line up speakers well in advance, especially celebrities * Determine how long program will be, and how many speakers, how long they are to speak (1 minute to 10 minutes, usually) * Get proper balances: female/male, minorities, labor, scientists, sponsoring groups, dramatic speakers, organizational speakers. Plan for problem of speakers running over schedule. * Sign language interpreters/foreign language interpreters * Entertainers Line up well in advance; could be key attraction to rally
Rallies and Marches (continued) Rallies Site Logistics * Fund Appeal… Have person near middle of program give pitch, after a particularly moving speech; make several appeals Have volunteers with properly marked buckets cover the crowd thoroughly, more than once. * Emergency Decisions … Determine mechanism to make last minute decisions (e.g., someone, who is not scheduled, demands to speak) * Crowd Control For large rallies, organizers must be prepared to deal with the usual problems of crowds: guiding people to and from the site, providing information (medical, buses, etc.), minimize crowding, secure press and stage areas, and minimize impact of hostile folds and counter-demonstrators Peacekeepers or even small affinity groups could be used Set up training sessions for peacekeepers. * Literature and Money … - Literature Tables … Buttons, posters, T-shirts, follow-up leaflet, stickers, cheap or popular booklets Have at key and visible locations Get tables, chairs, signs, tape, string in advance (rent to others). - Button Sellers … Establish system to cover crowd adequately Recruit people in advance to sell buttons Aprons to make change Buttons on apron or on cardboard with price clearly visible. - Money Collectors Get buckets (or bags) and trusted people to cover the audience during the fund appeal Provide a safe place to hold, count, and transport money.
Rallies and Marches (continued) Marches Marches give participants something to do rather than just standing around listening to speeches. Marches expose your views to more of the general public. Marches also have the distinct advantage of being able to link sites. The items listed below are in addition to the considerations in the Rallies’ preparations. * The Route … Decide, plan, make up charts, and go over route (by walking), and check for Rest stops (if a long march), breaks because of traffic signals How long it takes; don’t make it too long or you’ll lose people. * Miscellaneous Points * Street permits (if not walking on sidewalks) * Sound permits * Vehicles to carry medical equipment, sound equipment, and leaflets * People to hand out leaflets during the march * Publicize route and timetable (noting breaks for people to join late) * Line of march - if arranging march by constituency, issue, organization, etc., have signs and people to mark off each segment * Money collection - barrels across line of march * Assembly - allow for half hour to assemble; for a large march, allow 1 hour * Legal observers can be recruited from a nearby law school, or can be simply volunteers with arm bands, placed along the march. * Peacekeepers are needed to aid in directing march, helping pace it, and distracting any hostile onlookers away from the march. * Communications system is desirable so line of march can operate smoothly (e.g., using runners, bicyclists, cell phone/texting, walkie-talkies) * Finale—every march should have an ending, other than simply dispersing, (e.g., rally, sit-in, rousing speech, or song)
How to Make the News Working with the Media As you know, cannabis is a “hot” topic in the media right now. The media are crucial to our cause. Although the prospect of working with the media may seem daunting at first, you can reach hundreds and even thousands of people with one newspaper article or television clip. Here are some tips for preparing yourself for effective media work in your community. Creating Your Media List A. Categories - Separate your media list into categories: Local print (newspapers, weeklies, magazines); Local TV; Local radio (news stations or those having a particular slant that could be useful); Wire services (Associated Press, Reuters, etc.) B. Contact information Next to each category, include phone numbers, fax numbers, email (if available), and contact names. Your contacts for events during the week may be different than those on weekends. It is always a good idea to make sure that your contact is in their office before you fax, mail or deliver the news release. If you do not have contact names, call the media outlet and find who you should direct the release to. For print media, you should ask for the name of the news editor, assignment editor or even the city desk if it is a local event. For television, ask for the assignment editor. For radio, ask for the news director. Remember to update your list every few months.
How to Make the News (continued) Working with the Media C. Deadlines These are important to remember when dealing with the media. Find out the time-of-day deadline for daily newspapers, and the day and time for weeklies. Record this on your media list. NOTE: If you want something printed in a weekly, remember that weekly papers tend to schedule far in advance. D. Writing a News Release When writing a news release, keep in mind that the media receive hundreds of releases every day. Try to follow these guidelines: Keep it short (one page for events) and professional. Come up with a catchy headline that will attract someone's attention. NOTE: Sometimes the title will take more time to come up with than writing the release. That's okay -- the headline could be critical for getting an event covered! In your first paragraph, cover the 5 W's: Who you are; What you are doing; Where the event is happening (exact street address and if necessary cross streets); When (time and date) you are doing it (sometimes it's a good idea to bold or underline this part); Why you are doing it.
How to Make the News (continued) Working with the Media The Components to a News Release Any opinions in the news release should be put in quotations from your designated spokesperson. Include things that the media finds newsworthy. Some of these are: Timeliness; Proximity (is the event nearby or does it have a local tie-in?); Prominence (well-known people involved); Conflict; Oddity (a first-time event, something flashy); Importance (public sympathy, people affected) Double-space your news release (if possible), even if this means having to shrink the font size or decrease your margins. Title the release "news release" or "news conference," not a "press release" or "press conference." (Press refers only to print, but media refers to all). Make the time on your news release at least one half-hour later than the time you have told activists to show up at an event. This will ensure that activists are prepared and in place by the time the media arrive. Choose a spokesperson for the event who can be quoted in the release and will be available for calls at that number the day before the event. Be accurate. Have someone proof the release for spelling, grammar and content (determine whether what you are trying to relay is clear and accurate). Sometimes the person who writes the release may not notice mistakes that a fresh pair of eyes will catch. Accuracy is very important in terms of your content and the location and time that you tell the media. If you do make a mistake, it is critical that you call and notify the media of the correction. 29
How to Make the News (continued) Working with the Media Sending Out Your Release Be sure to Snail mail, email, fax, or hand-deliver your release three weeks in advance if you are announcing a meeting, speaker or film. If you are having a protest or a rally that you want covered as a news item, you should email, fax or hand-deliver your release two days before the event. Make a follow-up call the same day to verify that the assignment editor or the person you directed your release to has received it. More than likely, they will let you know if they received it. If they did not, then you should offer to re-fax or deliver it again.
Promoting Your Event The morning of your event (between 8 and 9 a.m.), it is a good idea to have someone make calls to the media again--this time just remind whoever answers the phone about your event (â€œHi, this is Lynn with Dads For Marijuana, and I am just calling to remind you that we will be having a protest at noon at the State Capitol. We hope you can make it out.â€?). If you have something "different or flashy," you might want to mention it. Sometimes the person who received the release may not be interested in the story, but the person who picks up the phone the day of the event might be.
How to Make the News (continued)
Dealing with the Media Always try to call the media early in the morning. The later it gets, the harder it is to reach contacts and the less time reporters have to write the story or to reserve a news slot. Always return calls from reporters immediately! Be excited and professional. It is always important to tell the truth. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so honestly and offer to find out the information if possible. Once a reporter knows you are an accurate and reliable source of information, she/he will be more likely to work with you in the future.
How to be interviewed by the Media Radio/TV talk shows and news interviews can be a very powerful vehicle for activists to get their messages out to a broader audience. Here are some tips for being effective when interviewed by the media. Rules and tactics • Be informed. This is the golden rule. If you don't know the issue you are there to discuss, someone else should do the interview. • Don't agree to an interview unless you know your subject better than the person you're being interviewed by - or if it is a debate, the person you are up against, and can head her or him off at the pass. Make sure your information is reliable and can stand up to critical examination. Anticipate the kind of questions, particularly the hostile questions, you are likely to get. • Be calm. However much the issue, or your opponent, angers you, don't let it show. Generally the calmest person is the one whom the audience sees as the winner. This doesn't mean you can't be passionate and enthusiastic, but your passion and enthusiasm must be tightly controlled and must not, Repeat MUST NOT, spill over into anger. If necessary, take a deep breath before answering the question. Be polite but firm with everyone. 31
How to Make the News (continued) How to be interviewed by the Media Keep it Simple
• Be concise. It's amazing how little time you get. Learn to talk in 15 second "sound bites." You must know exactly what you want to say, and say it in as few words as possible, with clarity and determination. The main point must come at the beginning of the interview: you should summarize the whole issue in just one or two sentences before expanding on your primary theme. • It's the answers that count, not the questions. Have at least three points you want to make during the interview and be sure you make them. When being interviewed, you must know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. Don't be too concerned about answering the question: always deal with it as briefly as possible, then get to the points you want to make. End the interview having made your points as effectively as possible. • Don't try to make too many points. You want to have a maximum of three main points of argument. Anymore and both you and the audience will get lost. • Finish your point. If the interviewer tries to interrupt you before you've got to the important thing you want to say, don't be afraid to carry on talking until you've said it. Sometimes it's useful to say "Just a moment" or "If you'd let me finish.” Be assertive without being rude. Don't let yourself be bullied. • Simplicity. Make your points as clearly as possible. Use short sentences and simple words. Try not to use a sentence within a sentence or you'll confuse the listener. • Lastly, dress the part. Media interviews are not the place to showcase rainbow colored hair and multiple body piercings. Dress to influence the minds of people’s opinions you seek to change, not those who are likely to already agree with you. Turn hostile questions to your advantage. There are several ways of doing this: 32
How to Make the News (continued) How to be interviewed by the Media
• Deal with the question quickly, and then move on to what you want to talk about. The simplest and safest way of handling tricky questions is redirection; agree with part of the question, then show that it's not the whole story. • Undermining the factual content of the question. In other words, don't let the interviewer push you into a corner. • Always bring your answer back round to your main points. Leave your notes behind. If what you want to say isn't in your head, you shouldn't be interviewed. Speak up. You're not having a casual chat with the interviewer or the other guest. A media interview is a golden opportunity to persuade mass numbers of people, and you must get your points across in such a way that the viewer or listener can't possibly ignore them. This means you must put more emphasis into your voice than you'd do in a normal conversation. It might sound strange when you first do it (be sure to practice before you do a real interview), but on air it'll sound fine. In fact, if you don't practice, you'll sound unfocused and probably flat and boring. TV and radio interviews are all about passion and authority. Good interview subjects must sound passionate and knowledgeable to make a positive impact. Use your body. On TV your head and torso should stay fairly still (which makes you seem solid and trustworthy), but your hands can be used to lend emphasis to what you say (they can help to drive your points home). Expressive eyebrows can be useful too. • Humor… If you can do it without making it sound frivolous or irrelevant, humor can go a long way in helping win your audience over. Gently making fun of your opponent's position can be quite effective. Don't hate your opponent... or at least, don't appear to. Whatever you might think about the person you're up against, you must leave your feelings behind when being interviewed by the media. If you allow yourself to hate them, you are more likely to lose your cool, lose focus and - most importantly - lose public sympathy. One way to approach this is to regard your opponent as someone who has been misled and needs to be told the truth. Think of your role as being to put them right, rather than to put them down and you'll find that when being interviewed you'll be a lot more effective.
How to Make the News (continued) How to be interviewed by the Media
Remember - when being interviewed, you are there to tackle one issue and one issue alone, not to detail every cannabis issue that has existed from the dawn of time. Concentrate on one issue, and you'll be a lot less stressed out - and more effective. Making a Media Kit If you have a lot of information you would like to share with the media, you might want to make media kits. They should be given to reporters who show up to cover your event or news conference. Here are some ideas on what you might want to include in the kit (you should place these items in a pocket folder, if possible with your organization's name on the front): Your news release A fact sheet Background information and news clippings on the issue Information on your organization A colorful brochure
Following Up after an Event After your event, remember to designate people to tape the TV coverage and keep an eye out for any newspaper clippings on your event. The clips can be used to motivate members within your organization (show them at monthly meetings or while recruiting new members) or to show to others (including the media).
How to Make the News (continued) Tips on Writing Effective Letters to the Editor Letters to the editor are an easy way for you to voice your opinion to policy makers and to educate readers about marijuana issues that concern you. Letters to the editor can be used to correct facts in an inaccurate or biased article, to praise or criticize a recent article or editorial, or simply promote your opinion on an important issue. The letters section is one of the most highly read sections in any newspaper or magazine. In addition, many web sites also now have special sections for readers to comment on issues of the day. Make sure you read the paper before you write to get an idea of their particular format and focus, and be sure to name specifically the editor you’re addressing. Key points: Be timely – Capitalize on recent news and events and respond within 24 hours of a story if possible. Be sure to refer to the article or event you are responding to in the first sentence of the letter. Keep it short and simple – Under 250 words ideally, even less if you can. Research the paper or magazine you are writing to see if they have a specific word limit. Keep your points clear and stick to one subject. Look at the editorial page of the publication you're writing to and copy the format they normally print. Think locally – Demonstrate how this issue affects you locally, and - if possible - mention lawmakers or news makers by name to ensure you get their attention. Sign your letter - Include your name, address and telephone number. Papers may need to contact you if they are considering printing your letter. Don’t worry—they won’t print your phone or street address. Follow-up -If the newspaper doesn’t call you, call them! Speak to the person in charge of letters to the editor (You should know who this is before writing your letter). Ask if they plan on printing your letter, and if not, ask if they have any feedback for you. Thank them for their time and feedback. Don’t be discouraged if your letter is not printed. Every time you submit a letter, you are educating the editorial board of your paper and paving the way for future letters to be printed.
How to Make the News (continued) Keep trying! - Seal the deal. If your letter is printed, be sure to send Dads for Marijuana a copy so we can track our effectiveness. If you mention an elected official or other news maker, you may want to send them a copy too. Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) Start by outlining what you want to write - not only the issue but the point of view you want to take. Consider what the paper has already printed on the subject and decide how you could best contribute to the debate. Again, unless you want to write for the New York Times, or another major national outlet, a local angle is your best bet. Remember, even international issues, like the arrest and conviction of Marc Emery, have local impact. Tips: • Keep your text to between 500 and 800 words (about 3 pages double-spaced) in general, but call the outlet you plan to submit it to for their guidelines. • Stay focused on one issue, and boil your argument down to three or, at the most, four major points. • Think creatively and try to be original. (Tip: read op-eds before starting so you see how they are styled.) • Highlight the issue's relevance. How/why has it been in the news? What's so controversial? • Write in short paragraphs; three sentences each. • Use simple, short sentences. Avoid fancy words, jargon, or acronyms. • Eliminate the passive voice. Example: "This legislation was defeated almost entirely by the pharmaceuticals industry." Changed to: "The pharmaceutical lobby single-handedly defeated the bill." • Begin with a short vignette illustrating how the issue affects an individual or group of people to drive home why the newspaper's readers "need to know."
How to Make the News (continued) Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) (continued) • For regional placement, use local or regional statistics. For example, in an op-ed focusing on international arrests for simple marijuana possession, you could mention the number of arrests of nonviolent offenders that have occurred in your region or state in recent years. • Include at least one memorable phrase that can be used as a "pull" quote. It must be short. • Op-eds should provoke discussion, controversy and response. • Op-eds should be informative and provide practical solutions for the problem you have presented. • Close on a strong note. Use a short, powerful last paragraph that drives the point home and sums things up. • Follow-up with a thank you note to the editor, or whomever you are dealing with at the paper, for publishing your op-ed piece. A good relationship with the editorial staff could become one of your most valuable resources. But don't include your note of thanks in the oped itself. • Include a cover letter when submitting an op-ed that summaries why it is timely and of interest to readers of this particular publication. • Later, make sure to thank the editors for considering your piece in a separate letter or note. Keep the letter short - less than one page. The Right Author You do not necessarily have to sign or write an op-ed by yourself. Sometimes it's best to ask an expert to collaborate on an opinion piece. Finding the best author to collaborate with can be critical in getting your article published and maximizing its impact. Choose from scientific or other experts from your organization or others, ask a local dispensary owner, media personality, or elected official anyone who may be perceived as having an interesting perspective on the issues or the appropriate credentials for weighing in on a topic. The best person (or persons) to collaborate with on an op-ed is not always experts on writing for the media. However, when revising the text, be sure that everyone who collaborates on and signs an opinion piece has the opportunity for revision and fact-checking. Formatting an Op-Ed 37
How to Make the News (continued) Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) (continued) • Double space your text. • Provide a suggested title, the author's name and identification - although it will most likely be re-named. • You may want to include a short biographical paragraph about the author at the end, including residence and experience relevant to the topic. • Consider illustrating your piece with a photograph, map, or other visual aid. It is a good idea to maintain a good file of black-and-white shots. First, call and get all the information you need: • Word length • How to submit - and where to submit to. • Whom to submit to • How long submissions are held on to/considered and how to find out whether it has been accepted for publication • Details on how to withdraw submissions • Whether all submissions need to be exclusive to this publication National Op-Ed Placement Examples: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today. Form: Must be focused, to the point, timely, and well-written. Scope: Must be of national or international scope. Content: Should be a timely issue that already has gained coverage on the news side of the paper. Byline: For national papers, the more prominent the byline, the better the chance for placement. You may want to go outside the obvious authors. A well balanced, jointly signed piece with a prominent scientist, government official or animal expert may be more easily placed than one signed only by a notable animal rights activist. Word Length: Should be roughly 750 words. Word length varies from paper to paper. Call for guidelines. 38
How to Make the News (continued) Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) (continued)
Exclusivity: Pieces are submitted to national publications on an exclusive basis - once you submit a piece you must be rejected by them, or withdraw the piece verbally or in writing before you send it to another outlet or service. Cover memos: All pieces should be accompanied by a cover note to the op-ed page editor. The cover note or memo should be short and refer to: • The author • The significance of the piece and its relevance to the publication's readers • The timeliness of the issue • You may want to start the memo with: "I submit on behalf of the author the attached opinion piece on (the topic)..." Then, wrap it up with "We hope you find the piece interesting and consider it for placement in (the paper)."
Sending: Call the outlet and check, but it would be a safe bet to fax the piece and cover memo, and then send them by overnight mail. This will ensure that the op-ed is seen and put into circulation for consideration.
How to Make the News (continued) Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) (continued)
Follow-up: This is key. Call the following morning after submission. Please note that Op-Ed page editors and their assistants are deluged with submissions and follow-up calls each day. Keep it short say you are calling to confirm whether they received the piece. If the editor or editor's assistant seems receptive, be sure to include a line about why the piece is particularly important/timely now - it may help put it on their radar screen. Most places will tell you: "We'll call you if we are using it, don't call us." In that case, ask when they expect to make a decision and indicate that you'd like to submit it elsewhere if it doesn't suit their needs. Most editors understand this and will let you know when it's okay to call back for a final decision. But remember, every newspaper has its own policies. The New York Times, for example, holds it for ten days (you can withdraw it sooner if you let them know) and does not appreciate inquiry calls. On average, national outlets should be given 4 business days after the initial follow-up call before checking in again. If the response is negative or non-committal, it's time to make a decision about moving on. If they indicate interest, you need to decide, perhaps in consultation with your client, if you should wait it out and for how long, or move to another outlet. Keep it moving: A sure fire way to not get placed is to send in an op-ed and forget about it. Getting published can become a game of moving the piece around, in a way that maintains its timeliness while exhausting the most promising possibilities. If the national strategy fails, then it may be time to re-work the piece for regional papers or services. If you have not heard about your piece after one week, pull it and submit it somewhere else. Regional Papers Examples: Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, etc. Form: Must be well-written (in regional placement, local or regional representatives can often write the piece with editing assistance from a professional writer).
How to Make the News (continued) Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) (continued)
Scope: Must have a regional or local hook - this is essential for regional placement. Content: Again, should be timely and of significance to the region. Byline: The more local the author, the better it is. This does not mean that the byline must be local, but it does help (some op-ed editors will tell you that they do not publish unsolicited pieces and many of them fill their pages with items from syndicated columnists only). Word Length: Check with the papers, but aim for 650 to 750 words. Exclusivity: When pitching an op-ed regionally, exclusivity is usually not an issue. You can submit the same piece (re-worked to fit the region) to several papers around the country at the same time. You should not, however, have the same piece simultaneously at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times, for example. Stay away from markets that overlap, because if you don't, you will only succeed in upsetting the op-ed page editor and damaging your relationships with these papers. If you are uncertain about whether a paper demands exclusivity, ask. Cover Memos: See above, but add the regional/local significance. Sending: Call the paper and ask to whom it should be sent. Unless you have a large budget for overnighting hard copies, it's generally okay to email submissions.
How to Make the News (continued) Tips for Writing an Effective Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) (continued)
Follow-up: Remember there's a fine line between schmoozing someone and annoying them. Keep it moving: With regional placements, keeping track of all the places you have sent the piece, including when it was sent, when calls should be made, and when to move it along can get confusing. So keep good notes and mark your calendar when it's time to move from one place to the next.
A handbook to Dads chapter leadrs explaining our mandate and methodology.