We have seen recently how effective having statements published can be, so in order to speed up and streamline this process, I am asking for volunteers to help run this office. It is clear that the role of "press officer" cannot be filled by any one person and while any public appearances etc. should be handled by the party leader or election candidates, they do not have the time to do the day-to-day work of writing press releases (we've seen how rarely we have blog posts) or always be available to rapidly respond to events as they break (such as the amendment 120A story). Similarly, I cannot run this office alone, I have commitments to PPI as well as my own life to maintain. This is why we need volunteers to act as press officers.
How the office will work.
The office is based around the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and the wiki page linked above.
- If anyone reads a story or comes across something that they think needs a response they should email it to that address or add it to the wiki's discussion page stating roughly what sort of thing needs saying and how urgently.
- Anyone interested in helping out can regularly check that page and the email and when a story is raised that they are able to write a statement on they create a draft using a separate page of the wiki, a forum thread or a third-party site like PiratePad and link that next to the request. It would also be helpful if some quotes could be extracted from our party leader or (potential) candidates.
- The press officers (yes, more than one; ideally a team of half-a-dozen or more) can then help with it to whatever extent they can (tidying up corners, adding references, checking spelling) - acting as 'editors'. Once two or three people have looked over it and are happy, it can then be moved to the "ready for publication" section.
- Once it is approved by a relevant authority it can be published on the blog (or, ideally, a separate section of the main site for "Press releases" if possible) and submitted to any and all newspapers, blogs, news websites etc. Once stories are here they can be taken to be official statements of the party.
What help is needed
What we need is a group of volunteer press officers who can act be added to the press@ address and work together to write and edit the stories. While I know that most of us don't have the experience or training to do something like this alone, by working together we should be able to come up with a good statement that is technically, legally, factually and grammatically accurate. We also need ordinary members to point relevant stories to us and (ideally) start drafting a statement.
The press officers could also go around the various websites and would have the authority to post comments on existing articles correcting errors, adding the party's views, linking to the site and generally getting involved with mini-debates as a party representative, not just a member. Obviously they would need to make sure they were thoroughly familiar with our manifesto (or the draft one, for now) and make sure they do not issue contradictory statements.
It would also be helpful if people could start filling out the section of the wiki for press contacts with the email addresses and websites where we could submit stories for publication (such as a BBC contact, the slashdot submission page, or a newspaper's politics/technology email address).
If you are interested in joining the press team either add yourself to the list on the wiki, post something in this forum or talk to me directly (or, ideally, do all of those).
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, as always.
Disclaimer: I have suggested this repeatedly to the exec and haven't heard much in response. As some of you may be aware I decided to bypass them on Wednesday and published a statement personally that ended up being quoted by the BBC and after gaining the support of several other members I have decided to take this further.
To the exec: If you think I am doing the right thing, I would like: a) the ability to send and receive emails from the press@ address and ideally add others to it, b) a section of the main website where press statements can be published (ideally separate from the blog but using a similar system) and a general press page where they can be collated/linked and were some standard statements about the party and leadership could be kept (maybe something like this), c) confirmation that this office will be official, in this thread or elsewhere; feel free to remove the various disclaimers.