Engaging the media
Engaging media through the angle of a divestment campaign can help to bring attention to other issues related to nuclear weapons, to talk about how these weapons are not only not providing a great return on investment, but can potentially cause untold human suffering through their use.
Media attention is a great way to engage financial institutions and put enourmous pressure on them to enact or strengthen policies around nuclear weapons. Financial institutions do not want bad press and they are extremely sensitive to media reports. Media attention also affords campaigners an opportunity to commend those financial institutions that are divesting from nuclear weapons producers and create a positive “race to the top”.
Media and networking
Social media, networking, multimedia and blogging are useful tools to engage a broad audience and inspire people to take action in a quick and effective way. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can provide useful forums to share campaign messages and calls to action. These forums offer good opportunities to promote online email and web-based actions such as online petitions and email actions.
Facebook is useful for sending out links to online actions, short pieces of news and information as well as campaign messages. It can be sent out via groups and causes such as International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) or by setting up new groups specifically on the divestment campaign in your country and recruiting supporters to it. Messages and actions can also be sent out to your friends on Facebook asking them to take part in an action or event.
Twitter is similar to a blog and can be used to send short campaign messages and news as well as links to actions (within the limit of 140 characters) to ‘followers’ of a particular twitter feed. It is helpful to also retweet useful items to your own followers from the ICAN twitter feed. You can also get your tweets picked up and retweeted by tagging financial institutions, or using hashtags. Make room for a hashtag in your post. That will add your tweet to an existing thread, given that Twitter now turns hashtags into links. When used strategically, hashtags are definitely worth the precious extra characters. Here are some hashtags to consider:
- #SocialGood | Highlights businesses, nonprofits, and individuals creating positive social progress
- #SoCap | Primarily for investors, news, and resources for making profits while making an impact.
- #CSR | Corporate Social Responsibility
- #SRI | sustainable and responsible investment/ socially responsible investment
And of course, make sure to use the ICAN hastag: #goodbyenukes.
It is also useful to specifically tag the financial institutions or nuclear weapons producing company you are targeting. Check their website, or click here for a list of twitter adresses.
Examples of tweets:
Good to see @UniCredit_Bank policy that says #goodbyenukes! Maybe next year it will even make the Hall of Fame? www.dontbankonthebomb.com
Oh no! Why does @WellsFargo invest in #nuclear weapons producers? They should have a #CSR or #SRI policy to say #goodbyenukes!
You can also retweet from the @DontBankonBomb account.
YouTube can be used to post short films about divestment and the nuclear weapons campaign to raise awareness and promote calls to action.
Online and web-based actionsincluding petitions and email actions can be set up to target decision-makers in financial institutions and governments. Standard emails calling on banks and governments to divest from nuclear weapons can be set up online and promoted to hundreds or thousands of people to take the action within just a couple of minutes.
Cartoonists have helped to raise awareness on nuclear weapons. It’s a topic that can be effectively conveyed through the use of cartoons and helps to reach a wide audience. Cartoons can also summarise complex issues and encourage popular action.
Opposite the Editorial is what “op-ed” stands for and they are generally pieces contributed to newspapers featuring opinions on issues the editorial staff find relevant to their readers. They also often contain responses to recent events. Often an op-ed has a better chance of getting published if it is authored by a prominent person. Consider preparing key talking points and then asking a local official (Mayor for Peace, Red Cross/ Crescent leader, Member of Parliament, Ethical Bank, etc) to submit it together with you.
Press conferences and traditional media outreach
Holding press conferences and reaching out to both financial and political media can help to get coverage of the divestment issue in your country. Don’t Bank on the Bomb is also a way to connect with journalists that might not otherwise cover the nuclear issue at all. Securing media coverage of investments in and divestments from nuclear weapon producers has been an important tool for all campaigners who have organised divestment campaign actions. There are also really useful tips in the ICAN Campaigners Guide.
Some things to keep in mind when reaching out to the media:
– Give someone a scoop: Consider sending the press announcement and executive summary of the report to a reporter you have worked with before under embargo
– Know your journalist. Make sure you reach out to journalists that cover the issue- don’t just send things blindly to every email address at the newspaper you can find!
– KISS– Keep It Short and Sweet, if you can’t get your pitch across in less than 200 words, rethink it.
– Connect with what’s happening. When translating the press announcement, make sure you fit it to the local context.
– Call, call, call. Follow-up on emails sent by phoning the journalist, and speaking with them directly. Leaving a message isn’t enough- make sure you talk to a human.
There are lots more tips about ways to connect with the media available- if you’re doing a local action at an ATM, you can include pictures in your press release. Be creative, clear, and concise- and the media will return your calls!