GMW: Continuing the Effort

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

For those who missed the first two essays on this, see Guerrilla Media Warfare and Guerrilla Media Warfare: Redux.

Here’s the short version for those of you just tuning in.

Blogs are great, but a large number of people don’t read them.  We need to get the information we have out to them.  We need to talk to them where they are.  On their level.  Stop talking around them and over them.  We aren’t better than they are.  We have to reach them.

Since we haven’t the resources to do traditional publishing, we’re starting a newsletter that can be printed from home and passed out on the street.  We’re looking at between 4-8 pages (depends on a few factors that haven’t all clicked in place, yet), and each article will be short.  This will be published weekly.  We take submissions and choose the ones that best fill a set of criteria.  Anyone can submit their work.  Multiple articles if they choose.

What follows is the status of our project so far.

Pfiore volunteered to be editor, however (and I really don’t like bringing this up in an open setting, but I don’t seem to have much of a choice), due to the fact that she’s busy preparing to move right now, and that she has yet to send me a way to contact her, I need someone to fill in until she has the time.  If you’re interested, contact me or leave a comment here.  Also, anyone who knows how to contact her, please do so and let her know she needs to get in touch with me.  I don’t want to replace her, but I do need someone to do the work until she’s ready, and she’s basically made it impossible for me to apprise her of the situation and get her thoughts on the matter.

Victory Coffee is our layout artist and designer, and she’s doing a wonderful job!

A big thanks goes to buhdydharma for allowing us to use this awesome site as our home.  If you’d like to contribute something to this little project, but don’t have time to help in other ways, there’s a little donate button along the right-hand column, there.  I assure you, it all goes to a worthy cause. 😉

I’m currently hammering out submission criteria.  Along with that, I’m trying to find some resources to help out writers.  (Suggestions welcome.)  I’m also preparing a companion project for writers so we can all help each other.  My intent is for it to be a place for us to submit drafts where as a group we can edit and improve what we’re writing.  However, it can also be a place for writers to get help with whatever they’re working on, not just submissions for our newsletter.

We’re still looking for a name.  I’ve floated one idea with VC who’s made noises of agreement, but we’re not settled on anything, so throw us your thoughts!

I’m pushing to be ready to start accepting submissions within the next couple weeks.  With that in mind, I want to go over some tentative criteria to give you writers a heads up for what we’ll likely be looking for.  Don’t take all of this as final.  If you have any suggestions, I’m open to them.

:: ::

The goal of the project is to reach a wider audience with our message.  Our message should be to inform and inspire action.  We lack the space to allow for long articles, so they need to be kept short, but that’s okay because our audience is short on time.  Also, our audience is not stupid.  They’re just not as well informed.  I don’t expect to reach everyone, but if we follow a few basic principles, we should be able to achieve our goal.

Submissions should be no longer than between 360-370 words.  This one is pretty much set in stone.  VC has the layout more or less ready (just some minor tweaks left), and that’s about all the room we’ve got for each article.  There are also going to be some pages with less room, so if you can get your message across in less space, that’d be great!  Whatever you do, don’t go longer.  Try to stay closer to the 360 mark if you’re on the long side.  And it’s okay to break your really long article into a series of smaller articles.  I’m very much open to running a series or two at any given time.

No profanity.  Even the mild stuff.  Crap, damn, etc.  Don’t use it.  You can get your point across without it.  If you can’t, learn how.  We’ll help as much as we can, of course.

Similarly, don’t call people/organizations names.  Rethug, Shrub, etc.  It makes us look childish.  You can get your point across without it.  Use given names.  If the person has a title (such as Senator, Doctor, etc.), use that, too.  Vary it around a bit if you like, but I repeat, don’t call people names.

Use good spelling/grammar.  Stylistic exceptions not withstanding, if you don’t use good spelling and grammar, readers won’t take you seriously.  Our newsletter isn’t the blogs.  The people we’re reaching are used to a higher technical quality than what’s generally available on blogs.  (Not to say there aren’t some excellent writers in the badlands, but it’s still very much a wilderness.  You never know what you’re going to encounter.)

If you use acronyms and abbreviations, unless they’re commonplace (Mr., Mrs., Dr., Sen., Rep., etc.), explain them.  Don’t assume the reader knows what they mean or stand for.

No candidate articles.  We aren’t going to promote any one candidate over another.  If a candidate happens to be on the right or wrong side of an issue, that’s fine.  If a candidate is the issue, that’s also fine.  But we aren’t out to promote or demote people.

Keep it short and sweet.  Get to the point.  Be clear and concise.  You don’t have the space to go on a rant.  You’ve got just enough space to get your point across.  Don’t waste it.

Address the following concerns:

  • What’s the issue you’re talking about?  Describe it as best you can given the space requirements.  Include your sources so readers can follow up on their own time.  (We should be able to provide sources as in-text links, like with html, so you shouldn’t need to worry about those taking up a lot of space.)

  • How does it affect the reader?  Be specific.  Provide an example if necessary.

  • What can the reader do about the issue?  Keep it simple.  We’re dealing with inertia, here.  Provide at least one thing they can do from their home.

Keep it engaging and interesting.  Don’t talk around your audience.  Talk to them.  Use “I” and “we” and “us.”  Form a bond.  We are not news reporters recounting the week’s events.  We’re neighbors and friends.  We’re excited and angry, and we’re imparting that energy on others.  We want them with us.

Keep it positive.  It doesn’t matter how angry you are, if you can’t find a way to release the energy you’ve imparted in a useful way, readers will just store it up and take it out on people around them.  You, as the article writer, are creating energy.  You are responsible for ensuring that energy is not wasted.  Show people by your attitude that all is not lost.  Point people toward actions they can take.

We’re biased toward facts and the truth those facts reveal.  Share your sources so readers can verify and learn more on their own.  Don’t shy away from telling it like it is.  People need to hear it, and if you’re doing things right, they’ll want to hear it, and they’ll want more.

And I feel like I’m forgetting a couple things that I haven’t had a chance to write down, yet.  Like I said, though, I’m still working on it, so again, suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

:: ::

Our first issue will likely be about the war and Iraq, since it will come out very near the 6th anniversary of the start of this whole mess.  When I call for submissions, I’ll definitely have the criteria all in place.  There may be some special ones for that issue, considering the theme.

I plan to call for submissions both here and on Kos.  If you can think of somewhere else we should also make the announcements, let me know so I can set up an account ahead of time.  I plan to publish the online version of the newsletter only here.  If anyone thinks that’s going to cause problems, now’s the time to speak up. 😉

15 comments

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  1. Help, even more so. 😉

    • brobin on March 5, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I will be very interested to see the completed first issue!

    How will you be distributing the newsletter to those who would like to distribute it locally in their cities and towns?  Will you post it for readily available printing, and we can print the amount of copies we want, or…?

    I would suggest one other site you might want to check in with, although quite a few of the contributors there also contribute both here and DKos, not all of them spend a lot of time either place.  That would be:

    http://www.eenrblog.com/

    Thanks for the information.  This sounds very exciting.

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