“PR in OLA 2.0” - Process Document for Occupy Los Angeles Public Relations
Strengthen OLA Public Relations - Make PR the voice of OLA
What: Make PR team the single point of contact for Media Outlets and the public
The PR team has to be established as the voice of OLA and the single point of contact for Media Outlets and the public. This proposal includes steps to strengthen the PR team and increase PR visibility towards achieving this goal.
How: PR Team Roles/Responsibilities defined, PR Code of Conduct
Definition of the OLA PR and OLA Media teams:
To ensure there is clarity on functions and roles of the PR team, a definition of all the communication related teams is as follows:
OLA Public Relations team: Responsible for all outbound communication from OLA to Media Outlets to convey Occupy LA’s plans, decisions and actions to the public.
Media Outlets: The primary external entities that OLA PR team interacts with and includes any external media such as mainstream news channels and radio.
The following teams are other OLA communication committees that PR team interacts and works closely with:
OLA Social Media: Responsible for managing OLA’s Twitter and Facebook pages and posting regular updates of current OLA events and actions, upcoming events and press releases.
OLA Web team: Responsible for managing the occupylosangeles.org website and posting OLA events and updates
OLA Media team: Responsible for technical setup of audio/video and livestreaming General Assemblies, OLA events/actions and OLA press conferences. This may include informal interviews of individual occupiers during events/actions.
This proposal has 2 sections: OLA PR Team Roles and Responsibilities and OLA PR Code of Conduct. Some of these Roles will be ones that we conform to as volunteers and funding increases.
1) OLA PR team - Roles and Responsibilities
The PR function is critical as it forms the single voice and face of the Occupy LA movement. Therefore maintaining the integrity, transparency and the trust with fellow occupiers is extremely important. The PR function is also very involved and requires continuous knowledge to ensure that messages delivered to the public and media outlets are consistent.
The PR team has 3 wings: PR Strategy team, PR Interviewees, PR intern/helper team.
PR Strategy team (6-10 members)
● Includes occupiers who are serious and committed as PR is a critical and involved function for OLA). At least 1 member from this team should be present in person or via livestream at the daily GA. The PR Strategy team is responsible for the following:
● List of media outlets and online blogs. The list of Media Outlets contacts should be documented and available to all PR members so that any information that needs to be disbursed happens to all the relevant media outlets. A list of online blogs to post in should be captured as well. The list of media outlets should be posted on the occupylosangeles.org website so that other occupiers are aware of what media outlets are being reached out to and can also contribute to the list.
● Media kit to send out to media outlets that is updated with upcoming OLA events and posted online as a single downloadable zip file. (Note: PR team needs a volunteer to accomplish this)
● Talking Points for OLA based on GA approved resolutions shared widely with occupiers. (Note: PR team needs a volunteer to accomplish this)
● Press statements and media mailers that are in line with GA decisions and release to media outlets
● Supporting facts and figures from authentic sources such as US census to support talking points. As a part of the preparation for interviews/press releases, the PR team should support our talking points regarding action steps and demonstrations with facts, statistics and figures justifying each specific incident. For optimal pickup, these facts should come from as traditional sources as possible e.g. US census.
● Media alerts to all Media Outlets prior to events. Who, what, when, where, why. Email, followed by cold calls to all Media Outlets.
● Regular proactive OLA press conferences to make statements announce actions and take questions from media outlets and the public. Emergency press conferences should be called during major events or actions take place. Emergency press conferences or releases should also be made when OLA protests any bills or actions taken by the government, or to call out illegal or irresponsible actions by corporates.
● Recruit and train PR Interviewees, and PR interns. Ensure Interviewees are rotated every 8 weeks.
● Cross team coordination: Coordinate with PR Camera Crew, Social Media Crew, OLA Livestream and OLA Web teams to ensure that a consistent message is being delivered to the public.
● Encourage occupiers to speak to the media as individuals or on behalf of other OLA committees - make talking points widely available and give media training to occupiers and Involve them in select press meets/interviews. The PR team should work to encourage occupiers to speak as individuals or on behalf of other OLA committees to the media if they are so inclined. It means making talking points widely available, so they can be used by everyone. And it means accepting help from our organizational partners if they talk to the media in a way that clearly indicates both their organizational affiliation and the fact that they're not speaking on behalf of OLA. We need to put multiple faces to this movement. Connect people with people. Offer interviews, even exclusives, to Media Outlets to generate interest. Have volunteers who have been properly screened, vetted and completed media training tell their stories as to why they are here. Rope our talking points in from there. This will inspire others and show that's we are the not just the 99%, but individuals. This could be a recurring feature, and also be used by the OLA Times for Editorial and column content.
PR Interviewees (5+ members) Rotating
● Includes occupiers who have undergone mandatory OLA PR and Camera training. This team rotates every 8 weeks.
● Attend interviews with media outlets including television and radio
● Participate in Q&A during OLA press conferences
PR interns/helpers (6-8 members) Floating
● Includes occupiers interested in helping PR team
● Help prepare press statements, media alert messages, blog posts etc. Based on GA and PR strategy team decision.
Joining the PR team:
Any occupier who is interested in participating in the PR team may do so by emailing the PR Strategy team at <email@example.com> or in person at the weekly PR meeting (Sundays 5pm at PITFIRE PIZZA until otherwise announced). All members of the PR team are subject to the OLA PR code of conduct as long as they are on the PR team.
a) Joining the PR intern/helper team: This team requires 6-8 members - and could have additional members on need basis. Any occupier may join this team if they would like to help the PR team draft press releases, blog posts etc. All material created by the PR intern/helper team will be internal to the PR team and can be published to media outlets or public only by the PR strategy or Social Media teams. Members on this team may participate in other OLA committees if time permits.
b) Joining the PR Interviewee team: This team has 5+ members and is rotated every 6 weeks. Occupiers interested in joining this team should have spent at least 2 weeks on the PR intern team and must undergo the mandatory PR training. Additionally, occupiers must undergo the mandatory OLA media training. Members on this team may participate in other OLA committees if time permits. The team rotation will be made by the PR strategy team. The PR strategy team is required to make an announcement at the GA and to the PR intern/helper team that a PR camera crew rotation is coming up at least 2 weeks prior to the end of a rotation period.
c) Joining the PR strategy team: This team has 6-10 members dedicated to the OLA PR function. Occupiers interested in joining this team must undergo the mandatory PR training and media training, be willing to dedicate significant time to manage the PR function and coordinate with other committees and must be willing to attend the GA at least twice a week.
OLA PR Code of Conduct
The practice of public relations can present unique and challenging ethical issues. At the same time, protecting integrity and the public trust are fundamental to the profession’s role and reputation. Bottom line, successful public relations hinges on the ethics of its practitioners. To help members navigate ethics principles and applications, the OLA PR code of conduct below has been created. All members joining the PR team must abide by the OLA PR code of conduct listed below.
1. Allegiance to the movement and Occupy LA GA
Act in the best interest of Occupy LA. Uphold the GA process. Work to strengthen the public’s trust in Occupy LA’s objectives and mission. Accurately define and inform GA as to what public relations activities can accomplish towards this. At least 1 PR strategy member must attend the daily GA in person or via Livestream. All press statements should be based on approved GA resolutions. All press statements should be presented to the GA before being published as it is imperative that the press releases truly represent the views of the movement as determined by the OLA GA. Time sensitive press statements should be indicated as such so that they are bumped up to emergency status by the facilitation team. In the event that the press release is very urgent and cannot wait for an emergency GA, the PR team may make the press release as long as the talking points are based on the resolutions of the GA and there is consensus of all 5 PR members.
2. Truthful and Transparent communication
Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information. Be honest and accurate in all communications. Notify GA of any intent of Anonymous Internet posting, “flogs” and viral marketing.
3. Participatory team work and recruiting
Function horizontally where every member’s voice counts and there is no seniority or hierarchy. Foster informed decision making through open communication. Promote healthy and fair debates to ensure that all members are able to participate in decisions and to strive for optimal decisions that benefit the movement. The PR team must meet in a place and manner that is easy to find and easily accessible to all OLA participants, and their conduct must be conducive to new members who are interested in being part of the team. Follow ethical recruiting practices to respect free and open participation. The PR Strategy team should ensure that PR interns interested in joining the rotating camera crew have undergone the OLA PR and media training.
4. Collaboration and Cooperation with other committees
The PR team must actively seek to collaborate with the social media, web and OLA livestream teams to ensure consistency of messages being released to the public. Members on PR team may participate on other OLA committees as long as they have the time and bandwidth to do so.
5. Protect Privacy and confidentiality
Protect confidential and private information. Safeguard the confidences and privacy rights of occupiers.
6. Avoid conflicts of interest
Avoid conflicts between personal and professional interests. Reveal sponsors for represented causes and interests. Disclose financial interests in a media outlet if any. Decline representation of occupiers requiring actions contrary to the code. Disclose any Pay-for-play journalism undertakings. Disclosure of payment received if any for expert commentators.
7. Report Ethical violations
Report all ethical violations to the OLA GA. When in doubt, bring it up at the GA for clarification.
Why? To ensure OLA speaks in one voice to the greatest number of people and delivers a powerful, clear and unified voice.
The purpose of strengthening the PR team is to ensure that OLA speaks to the greatest number of people as possible, and with a powerful, clear and unified voice. Currently, media outlets and the public get information about OLA from sources that may not necessarily represent the views of OLA GA. This is hurting the movement through dissemination of incorrect information. This has also resulted in internal conflicts as many occupiers indicate that the self-selected individuals are not representing the collective views of the GA. The PR team in Phase 1 has often been overridden by such entities and the goal of this proposal is to strengthen the PR in Occupy 2.0 by empowering the PR team to be single voice representing OLA to the general public and media outlets.
Not included in this proposal are the following items as the PR team will not have the bandwidth to do these.
a) Send press releases/media alerts to online news websites, blogs, posting on YouTube
b) Video/blog posts: Publish regular video/blog posts in conjunction with the press conferences. A weekly video post could be made with announcements using a computer generated voice similar to the “Anonymous” announcement videos. Doing this regularly and consistently could make it interesting for the public to check out what’s going on and bring in more supporters to the movement.
c) Unspecific media outreach to gain attention, sympathy and/or support. PR team could organize creative campaigns such as sending reporters signed thank you cards saying we appreciated the story they wrote. Something they can keep handy, and that will keep us on their minds. Just remember, reporters who are friends are reporters who write positive stories.
Posted at 6:04pm 12/07/ 11 This document is open to revisions.