MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS AND NLA by fca58339

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									MEDIA/ COMMUNICATIONS AND NLA

The Gamaliel Network is moving through an exciting time of growth. Gamaliel is “a learning
organization.” We have learned to move local issues to victory. We are also learning that
bringing about systemic change in our local communities requires learning how to work together
in regional or state-wide organizations. A number of our metropolitan organizations will come
to this NLA with significant state legislative and regional victories to report.

This NLA will begin the Gamaliel Rolling Thunder campaign. Rolling Thunder is a series of 15
or more large public meetings beginning in September and ending in October of 2004. If you
need more information, the first draft of the Rolling Thunder brochure in the Gamaliel Print
Shop:                    http://www.gamaliel.org/Printshop/brochure2.PDF
will tell you more about this campaign. At these meetings presidential candidates and
congressional representatives will be asked to affirm their support of Gamaliel’s position on
Civil Rights for Immigrants and their willingness to work for necessary changes in the law.

Engaging our network in our first national issue campaign will make the work of the second
NLA Communication Committee challenging, exciting and rewarding. The NLA is a young
organization, but clear routines for accomplishing the work of the National Leadership Assembly
have emerged. The communication committee is one of the newest aspects of NLA. The
committee will also learn routines to get things done as they work together.

The NLA communication committee is assembled from organizers, other staff, and leaders who
share a commitment to the development of:
   • greater media coverage for the Gamaliel Foundation,
   • a more powerful image of the Gamaliel Network as a national voice for values and
        change,
   • processes that enhance powerful communication within the network.

This is a large task. We have a great deal to learn about how to do our work together. Therefore:
    • suggestions to define and facilitate our work are always welcome.
    • the work of each Communication Committee should be documented for future
        committees.
This network has earned media coverage, has created an image for itself, and is founded on
learning how to communicate. We are now learning in a larger national context. That means
learning new ways of working. There is very little money available to support this work. That
means that we have to use every bit of capacity we already have.

In early spring Shanta P. and I met in Chicago to reflect on last year and to think about beginning
goals for the coming year. Shanta agreed to be trained during the summer to become the NLA
web master. Shanta is now on his way to New York City and a new position with the National
Council of Churches. Because he was being courted for a new position, Shanta was able to make
only beginning contacts to accomplish these goals. We all understand and wish him God speed in
this new endeavor.




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A place to begin: three goals for NLA Communications in 2003:

We knew that the communications committee would be dealing with CRI in some way. There is
a little more clarity now. The NLA board will model a Rolling Thunder public meeting for the
whole network. The CRI campaign hopes that the NLA communication committee will sponsor a
press conference of a caliber that will attract national media.

The first goal for NLA Communication Committee is to plan and implement a press
strategy that will lead to national coverage for the beginning of Rolling Thunder and the
Gamaliel Civil Rights of Immigrants Campaign. This strategy should also yield a template
that could be a starting place for each Rolling Thunder event beginning in September of
2004.

This task requires a sub table or a task group. I hope that Ann Smith will agree to chair this table.
Ann is Gamaliel’s new Vice President. Part of her portfolio is external relationships. While
membership at this table is open to other leaders, I hope the following people will join Ann at
this table:

Ana Garcia-Ashley – lead staff for CRI who brings to this table a knowledge of this issue as
well as significant experience in successfully dealing with the press.
Del Marie Cobb – Gamaliel board member and president of The Publicity Works in Chicago
who brings to this table extensive experience in working with the press.
David Liners – the host lead organizer who has expressed interest in seeking national coverage
for Rolling Thunder and who can bring to the table the latest version of the NLA agenda.
Laura Barrett – the new Associate Director of Gamaliel’s Metro Equity Department who brings
to this table extensive experience in designing and implementing national media campaigns.

This group’s focus is planning and executing a Rolling Thunder press conference with the
primary goal of securing national coverage. It would be very helpful if, in addition to the NLA
press kit, this group would develop press kits for Rolling Thunder and Civil Rights for
Immigrants and model press releases that can be used after NLA by our affiliates participating in
Rolling Thunder.

The second goal for NLA Communication Committee is to provide and staff a press room
during the 2003 NLA.

I am wondering if the Micah Media Committee will consider taking responsibility for the press
room and welcome both local and national media to it. I hope that Martin Rosolowski of
Interfaith Federation of Indiana will share what was learned and, if possible, help with the press
room this year. This involves providing for the registration of members of the media, providing
an internet connection and phone connection, staffing the press room, arranging for interviews,
making copies of speeches available to reporters who request them.




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The third goal for the NLA Communication Committee is to document NLA.

Wisdom organizer Pat Jackson has agreed to help the NLA communications committee with this
part of our agenda.

I am hoping that the following people will choose to be involved in these activities:

Pictures: Don Burton, Cheryl Liske, Tom Hawkins and Pat Jackson. (Others who like to take
pictures are welcome to join us.) The pictures have been used in Gamaliel publications, affiliate
publications, and at Gamaliel.org. We have begun to provide an online picture directory. You
can find it in the press room.

Requesting documentation from major speakers: I do not know who is responsible for asking
speakers, but we will not be able to provide copies of major speeches until the speakers are asked
in advance to provide them and until someone agrees to be responsible for pick them up after the
speaker is finished. I hope that several people will volunteer to do this for us as speakers arrive
or immediately after their speeches.

These documents would be available to the press and to the network in PDF format in the NLA
library at Gamaliel.org. Perhaps someone from Wisdom could be responsible to pick up these
speeches and get them to the Director of Communication and the press room. (Barbara is usually
available in the NLA office to help with copies.)

Audio Recording: If the public address system has the capability for recording the plenary
sessions, that should be done. I do not want to get into the tape duplication business, but I am
interested in seeing if we can make the audio of major speeches available online much the way
PBS makes past radio programs available. We are working on the technology. Perhaps someone
in WISDOM will be willing to help us with these recordings if they can not be done through the
PA system.

Base Building and Issue workshops: A lot of effort is invested in NLA workshops. The NLA
should teach long after the assembly is over. One of the things that we tried to do at the first base
building workshop on communication was to model leaving a record of what happened there.
You can see the first base building workshop on communication at

 http://www.gamaliel.org/NLA/NLA2002/Communication/NLA02Communicationmemu.htm

This year it seems important that the workshops that prepare people to develop GOTV
campaigns and other Rolling Thunder workshops leave such a record. That would help local
leaders and organizers in duplicating Rolling Thunder training in their own organizations.

It would be useful to make simple audio recordings of selected workshops. Volunteers would be
needed to get this done. Simple equipment would need to be borrowed, rented, or purchased.
Useable tape could be made available at Gamaliel.org. Doing this would also help us build a
library of sound bites to be used with still pictures in PowerPoint and other presentations.



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Simple Video: The digital video camera is changing many things. Politicians send people with
simple video cameras to their opponent’s campaign stops and then use the footage in their own
campaigns.

I do not want to get into video duplication and distribution business this year, but it would be
good if we could find a few people to run video cameras during plenary sessions and at selected
workshops. This would give us some footage to use in presentations about Rolling Thunder and
the Gamaliel Network. Hopefully, WISDOM has a few people who would be willing to help us.

We are trying to be better than we have been before!

A few “bytes” of history…

The NLA board established the Communication Committee in 2002. This fits with the primary
objective of the Office of Communication: that every affiliate and component of the Gamaliel
Network establish a communication table where leaders could develop and carry out a strategy
for communication and media for their network component.

The first NLA Communication table had many hopes, but finally attempted to accomplish two
goals:

   •   Sending a press-kit to news people with whom local organizations were in
       relationship. The press kit was to arrive with a cover letter identifying the local leaders
       who would be attending NLA. It was hoped that the local relationship and local people
       would lead to local coverage.

       The members of the table offered to prepare the press kit and mail it with the affiliate’s
       cover letter. They provided a sample cover letter for the affiliate. The affiliates were
       asked to do two things: identify the media outlets with which they had relationships and
       include the leaders they were sending to the NLA in their cover letter.

       The NLA board was asked to provide information for the press kit. The information
       regarding NLA was not available in time to facilitate an effective press kit. No affiliates
       responded to this table’s request for media contact information or returned the completed
       cover letter.

   •   During NLA the communication committee staffed a press room. They hoped to
       receive copies of all major presentations in order to make them available in the press
       room. They did some pre-NLA work with the media. They welcomed members of the
       press and attended to their needs. They facilitated a number of interviews and their efforts
       resulted in local broadcast and newspaper coverage of the NLA.

The NLA Communications Committee batted 500 in its first season.




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I am told that NLA hired a consultant for the Chicago NLA. The consultant’s work did not lead
to significant coverage. We need to learn what will help the Gamaliel Network garner national,
regional, and local media coverage. As we learn, we need to document our work so that others
can learn with us and improve on what we are trying to do year after year.

Since last NLA, a few things have been added to Gamaliel.org that over time may grow into
useful tools to strengthen our relationship to the media. Please visit the Gamaliel.org press room.
There is also an e-mail address book called news@gamaliel.org . Leaders will be able to use the
media contacts and group lists in that address book to facilitate contacting members of the media.

We still need press kits for NLA, Metro-Equity, and CRI. I hope one of the leaders from each of
those departments will provide the information needed to make this possible. A simple e-mail to
the news people in the news@gamaliel.org address book could draw attention to these press kits.
As our communication community grows, follow up phone calls could lead to press relationships
that leads to coverage.

In addition to making relationships with media, documenting the information for these media
contacts is an ongoing process. Our lists need to be focused and regularly updated: national
media, Black media, Hispanic media, and religious media. We need to build the capacity to shoot
rifle shots into the center of the target (media with whom we have established relationships) and
shot gun blasts. This activity will build capacity. Over time our capacity should grow to the place
where it will no longer be necessary to invent the wheel for every media campaign. If we
document our work we will always have a better place to start in the coming year.

The Gamaliel Foundation is first of all a training institute; we need to collect the materials we
need to create trainings that will help our members grow in their organization’s capacity for
communication.

The NLA media committee is not solely responsible for the development of this capacity, but it
can be a significant contributor.

Reflection:

It is often easier for national organizations to fulfill their mission when organization maintenance
becomes routine. A moment comes when maintenance becomes the rent paid for the privilege of
being capable to do our mission. Anyone trying to organize a national campaign for this network
knows that this moment has come for the Gamaliel Network. For example:

   •   We can not effectively strengthen and increase the number of organizers without a
       routine for recruiting, developing, supervising, and supporting personnel.
   •   We can not support issue campaigns that require the rapid mobilization of our base
       through email if we do not routinely collect e-mail addresses.
   •   We can not communicate with the leadership of this network unless we have a routine for
       gathering the names and contact information for these people.




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   •   We can not communicate developing news from our organization unless we
       routinely prepare to do this by identifying the news agencies that can help us,
       building a data base of media professionals and disciplining ourselves to report our
       news through news releases, etc.

A goal of the office of communication is to build the capacity of our organizations, not to rent
the capacity of others. This requires a culture change in this organization. At the center of this
change is the discipline of documentation. This discipline involves attending to little things.

Near the end of the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is this quote from Bruce
Barton:

       “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little
       things…. I am tempted to think… there are no little things.”

The majority of our member congregations are Christian. Jesus said:
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         “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is
       dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been
       faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And
       if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you
       what is your own?”

All our dreams for building a national power organization now depend on our dealing with little
things. It is time for this network to deal with these issues.

The mission is too important to require people to reinvent the wheel each time we need to go
some place in our organizing. Connecting people to the big vision of a national organization that
reflects the values of the people who participate in the mission of our local congregations
requires attending little pieces of information about the people we seek to inspire.

The mission is in the public arena. Building our image requires honesty. Rolling Thunder can be
tarnished by one organizer in our smallest organization who is dishonest about money. One
organizer who oversteps a relational boundary can divert the energy of this organization from the
issues. Soft money gives us time to develop hard money, but now is the time to build local dues
structures that support our organizations and to be faithful about collecting thousands of little
gifts.

We cannot ever forget that becoming a national power depends on strengthening the smallest
congregation in every local organization. Good public relations and good media coverage
requires the discipline of little things.

Dfb
09/01/03




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