Welcome to VetZine's Blog
The linking together
of a series of events or ideas
''The Domino Theory''
we have been warned about.
we are at war
Who is the
from the Trenches
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Making Our On Media
In this case Caspian Director Katherine Albrecht
Accidently steals a march on the Establishment Media
Then brilliantly analyses what went right.
Rules for Activists who want to get
their message across in somebody elses media
From: Katherine Albrecht firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Katherine Albrecht: anti-war protestor
Date sent: 06 Feb 2003 13:31:02 -0500
Well knock me over with a feather.
It seems an impromptu interview I did at the October Peace March in
Washington DC wound up prominently featured in a BBC news story - which I
only just found out about through a Google search on my name. On the
second page of search hits under "Katherine Albrecht" I was astonished to
find this link:
Aside from the shocked "Look, Ma, I got my picture in the paper!"
element of this (especially seeing as I wasn't discussing shopper
cards), I am passing it along to you because I think there are a few
lessons to be learned from it.
Lesson #1: Go to events on issues you care about.
One person CAN make a difference in getting an important message out.
Lesson #2: Carry a BIG sign.
As you can see from the photo, I carried two enormous signs that nearly
dwarfed me and practically broke my hands by the end of the day. (By
enormous I mean they reached from the ground almost to my shoulders and
spanned 3+ feet across.)
Lesson #3: Put something original and provocative on your sign.
You want a message that sums up the purpose of the event in a way that is
"newsworthy." The artwork can be mediocre but the message should strike a
chord with people. My signs read "America does not own the World" and "New
Hampshire Patriot for Peace." Both made it into the story -- the first
made it in directly as a photograph, the second was a focus of the news
piece -- that people had travelled from all over the nation to attend this
Lesson #4: Stand in a conspicuous location.
I stood on the curb facing traffic at the central entrance of the
protest site. You couldn't miss me with those enormous signs. As they
approached the protest, two different reporters stopped to interview me --
one from the BBC and another who I believe was with the New York Times.
In addition, dozens of "regular" people snapped my photograph -- many of
whom may have been reporters or news photographers as well.
Lesson #5: Have a clear message for reporters prepared in advance.
Think of a "sound byte" you would like to hear repeated on the radio or TV
news to convey your ideas. Condense your message to SINGLE SENTENCE
statements, and insert several of these single-sentence messages into the
interview. In three years of dealing with the press, I have learned that
they really love canned sound bytes and deal with them better than complex
I recently tested this hypothesis by dropping the prepared phrase "they
are treating shoppers like rats in a cage" into a ten-minute interview I
did with Fox news (on a retail surveillance issue, not war protesting).
Sure enough, this was the one phrase the editors chose when they cut my
ten minutes down to 10 seconds.
Lesson #6: Never say anything on camera or into a microphone that you
wouldn't want publicly repeated six months later. I.e., never go into an
interview assuming nobody will see it.
Even if you think it will never be broadcast because it's a podunk news
source, or a foreign news source, or such a huge news source that they'll
never care about your tiny interview, assume that it will someday be seen.
So do a good job.
I made all of the above wrong assumptions in this case because I have
never made the news as a "civilian"-- only as the head of CASPIAN. I
assumed I would never hear again about the little interviews I did on the
street corner. After all, there were a hundred thousand other people
standing right behind me. Don't make the same mistake, or like me, you
could be doing a random Google search on your name and find that your
image and words have been broadcast around the world in a context you
didn't expect. (Fortunately for me, I meant everything I said.)
All that being said, discussing citizen-level action is re-energizing me.
Anybody want to join me in rolling up their sleeves, making a sign or two,
and taking on Gillette's RFID tracking plans? Brockton, MA would be a good
place to start, but I'm open to offers anywhere.
Katherine Albrecht, US Citizen
(and, incidentally, Founder/Director of CASPIAN, http://www.nocards.org)
Important Caveat: My views on the war with Iraq are not meant to represent
the views of CASPIAN or its membership. In fact, I am certain that a
sizeable number of CASPIAN members disagree with me on this issue.
To clarify, when it comes to Iraq I am just Katherine Albrecht the
"civilian" speaking, not Katherine Albrecht the "consumer activist head of
Gilette, however, is another matter entirely!
Americans rally against war in Iraq;
Protestors march in front of the White House
By Kevin Anderson
BBC News Online
It was one of the largest such protests since the Vietnam War.
Tens of thousands of protesters came to Washington from across the
United States in one of the largest anti-war demonstrations since the
They filled Constitution Gardens within sight of the Vietnam War
Memorial and spilled out down Mall before marching to the White House.
“I'm ashamed of what my government is doing” - New Hampshire protester
They came from across the country, some traveling all day and night
crowded onto buses to attend the rally.
They wanted to counter the image and the polls that say a majority of
Americans support a war against Iraq.
Jean Hinton and Steve Phlegar flew for 12 hours to make the trip from Yuma
He said that the administration's new policy of pre-emptive military
action is un-American and felt it important to come to the anti-war
Muslim student Sana Malik demonstrates against war in Iraq
Student Sana Malik says the Iraqi people are suffering daily under
"It's one thing to sit around in your living room and talk about it, and
it's another thing to show some public support and participate," Mr
Four students in the sea of people carried signs saying "Nebraskans for
They left Lincoln Nebraska at 0738 on Friday, and some 26 hours later hit
Washington. They might have arrived earlier had their bus not broken down.
One of the students, Aaron Price, is 18. He fears a new draft and
doesn't want to fight a war he does not support.
Protest placard: 'America does not own the world'.
His friend Jonathan Jones said little will be gained by attacking Iraq and
feels such an attack is unjust and immoral.
"It's just going to cause a lot more disaster and destruction," he said.
Katherine Albrecht condemned US arrogance in its foreign policy.
Katherine Albrecht came with others on a bus from Manchester, New
Hampshire. "We really felt strongly enough about it to spend a night on a
bus," she said.
"I'm ashamed of what my government is doing. I'm ashamed of our elected
leaders," she said.
"I wanted to send a message not only to them but to the world that not all
Americans are behind this," she added.
Get out the vote
In a reference to President Bush's stated goal of ousting Saddam
Hussein, many protesters carried signs saying, "Regime change begins at
Critical mid-term elections are set for 5 November.
Regime change begins at home. Vote!
Common protest slogan
Republicans and Democrats are locked in a fierce battle for control of
Congress, and a few key races will decide the balance of power.
The late Paul Wellstone was in the toughest race of his Senate career. He,
his wife and their daughter were killed in an airplane crash Friday.
Many in the crowd carried signs paying tribute to the late senator and
mourning his death.
Lisa Collins of Reston, Virginia, said that Senator Wellstone was a true
liberal, a true Democrat who was not bought out by special interests.
"He'll be greatly missed," she said. "We need more leadership like that,
people who will stick with their principles."
Although his Republican opponent tried to paint him as soft on national
security, Senator Wellstone voted against the resolution authorising the
use of force against Iraq.
Lies, damn lies and polls
Many of the protesters questioned polls showing that a majority of
Americans support a strike against Iraq.
Some accused pollsters and the media of interviewing only war
When Celia Gayer's member of Congress came to her town on Cape Cod in
Massachusetts, people turned out 100-to-1 against the war.
Yet, they voted to support the resolution authorising force against
"They're cowards. They don't have enough faith in their constituents," she
She said they feared "the Bush propaganda machine" would use a no vote
against them in the elections.
Axis of Evil: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld
Protestors had their own 'Axis of Evil'
One protestor carried a sign decrying WMD. No, not weapons of mass
destruction, but rather weapons of mass distraction.
Many protesters felt that the drive for war was motivated by the
administration's desire to distract voters from domestic problems such as
unemployment, a moribund economy and corporate scandals.
Medea Benjamin of the group Global Exchange said, "I think the president
has done a very cynical manipulation of the genuine fear people feel after
posted by Vetzine