Climate Justice Writers Network
- Click here to sign up and receive regular writing prompts with story ideas and campaign updates.
- See our Climate Justice Writers Network Updates page for ideas about stories and for news updates related to the It Takes Roots campaign.
The CJ writers network aims to:
- Expand public awareness of the It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm initiative by low-income people of color communities who are most impacted by carbon-intensive extraction and energy production and by climate change. We need to bring the issues they raise to the center of the policy agenda.
- Expand networks among diverse media practitioners in a collaborative effort to disseminate information and stories about It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm and the groups participating in this campaign.
- Inform students and members and the public about It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm and the larger issues surrounding the climate justice and just transitions mobilizations, including the solutions being proposed by grassroots activists.
"Let's make a network of communication among all our struggles and resistances. An intercontinental network of alternative communication against neoliberalism ... (and) for humanity. This intercontinental network of alternative communication will weave the channels so that words may travel all the roads that resist ... (It) will be the medium by which distinct resistances communicate with one another. This intercontinental network of alternative communication is not an organizing structure, nor has a central head or decision maker, nor does it have a central command or hierarchies. We are the network, all of us who speak and listen." --Subcomandante Marcos
Who we are:
- Writers (amateur and professional)
- Visual artists
- Sociologists without Borders
- Regular Folks
We are responding to and helping build a movement for social justice in the United States and to support global movements for social justice and climate justice. Our aim is to help the exploited, excluded, downtrodden, hopeless, underpaid, overworked, unemployed--and all those who need hope ”see that people are coming together around creative ideas and proposals for addressing the urgent crises our world faces.
How do I get involved?
By committing just a few hours per month, you can be a part of our work to support climate justice. Participants in the Writers Network commit to do the following actions in support of the It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm campaign:
- Write at least one essay, op-ed, news analysis, or other piece per month for general audience news sources to help educate the wider U.S. public about climate justice and just transition, the people it involves, and/or the issues it addresses; and/or
- Write at least three analyses, poems, opinion pieces, announcements, etc. in specialized publications targeting particular audiences of activists, community groups, professionals, or other publics who should know about these issues and/or who can contribute to the campaign;
- Following the International negotiations/COP in Paris, write and speak to inform the public about the It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm campaign's ongoing assemblies and ideas for advancing movement building for climate justice;
- Encourage friends and colleagues to make financial contributions to support the It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation to Paris. The delegation will bring low-income and people of color organizers to Paris to help inform and shape global responses to the climate crisis.
- Speak to journalists and/or activists in participants' own communities about climate justice/just transition movements and encourage local participation in and/or media coverage of these struggles;
- Be creative in using social media to spread the word about the USSF.
Writers Network members will receive regular updates on relevant developments in the campaign's planning, ideas for stories, and suggestions for finding publication outlets for material.
How do I join?
Subscribe to the mailing list by going to https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/cj_writersnet
Once you are subscribed, you'll receive bi-weekly messages with updates and suggestions for timely articles or essays on the climate justice campaign and its participants. We'll also include any additional suggestions we hear for getting your writing out into the world. This list is an announcement list only, so there won't be more than 2-4 messages per month. If you'd like to send information that you wish to have made available to the network, email inosa [at] riseup.org
- Encourage others to join the network by spreading the Call for Participation
Here are some tips on how to pitch your articles to local media outlets
- Contact your institution's office of media relations, vice president for news, or any other public relations body. They will have contact information for opinion page editors at local newspapers and magazines. They can also be quite helpful in trying to place opinion pieces by faculty members to larger media organizations.
- Media strategy suggestions from Eric Brown, Communications Director, Center for a New American Dream http://www.timeday.org/book-appendix-c.asp
- The Progressive Media Project accepts and edits commentaries from activist, advocates or other specialists and distributes them via the McClatchy-Tribune News Service to leading metropolitan newspapers around the country. You can find the submission guidelines at: http://progressive.org/pmp_submit
- Keyword searches on Google News, Lexis/Nexis or other news databases will allow you to search for major newspapers or publications in particular states that have featured articles or topics similar to yours in the past. Once you find print or electronic publications that seem likely to run your piece, you can find the opinion editor's contact information from the publication's Web site and write directly to that person.
- Google Alerts will help keep you up to date with news of interest to you.
General Advice for Getting Your Article Published in Your Local Media Outlets
- The story must be local, very local. If you are trying to get in the Belper News it must be a story concerning a person or business from Belper.
- All stories should be accompanied by a photo of a local person (very desirable), make sure the photos are not bigger than 1MB in size.
- You do not need to write a finished article (that's what the newspaper pays their reporters to do), just provide the facts. Think about how much space you are likely to get for this type of article and provide roughly the right amount of words. (In the case of business articles in local newspapers usually 100-150 words, possibly 250-300 words if really interesting)
- Put the words of your article in the body of the email, rather than an attached document.
- Make sure the subject of the email contains which paper you think your article is relevant to (it may be the group editor scanning through 1000's of emails and this helps).
General National Media Outlets:
- Ithaca College Center for Independent Media lists links to a large number of independent media outlets: http://www.ithaca.edu/rhp/independentmedia/usindymedialist/
- ProPublica: https://securedrop.propublica.org
- Center for Public Integrity: How to submit a tip or story to the Center for Public Integrity: http://www.publicintegrity.org/about/contact
- Washington Post--How to submit a story, video, photo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/community-relations/whats-your-story-a-guide-to-getting-your-news-in-the-washington-post/2012/09/11/d2d29750-fc47-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_story.html Phone: 202-334-7300 Web: [firstname.lastname@example.org] []
- New York Times How to submit stories to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/nyregion/how-to-submit-to-metropolitan-diary.html?_r=0 Environmental Editor: Michael Wines Email: []
- Local Media Outlets--USNPL has links to local media outlets around the United States and includes links by state: http://www.usnpl.com
Write like the media
Scan the publications or Web sites you would like to target and see how their pieces are written. You don't have to compromise your own writing style or content, but an editor will be more inclined to feature your article if you emulate the publication's general writing style. Most journalistic writing, including opinion pieces, aim to be clear, concise and to the point. Paragraphs are short, usually no more than three sentences. Active voice is always best. Keep in mind that articles for the Web tend to be shorter than those written for print publications.
- Surf the Web. With some internet searching, you can find submission guidelines to various progressive media Web sites. Here are a few to start with and the links to their submission guidelines:
- Follow-up is important. Newspapers receive hundreds of submissions every day, and Web sites probably receive much more. Personal follow-up is important to distinguish yourself and your work from the masses. If you submit to a print publication, follow-up with a phone call rather than an e-mail. The same is true for Web sites if you can find the editor's phone number on the site. Otherwise, send an e-mail. Follow-up strategies vary. Once you start doing it, you will find what works best for you.
- Track your stories. Publications, especially Web sites, don't always let you know that they have published your article. It is important to keep checking the papers and sites to see if your story pops up. When it does, report back to us with the name of the publication or Web site, the date it ran your story (if it's a print publication), and any other relevant information.
- It's who you know. If you have or make any contacts or connections to editors or writers at progressive media publications, talk to them. Talk to them a lot. Tell them about the Climate Justice Writers' Network. Ask if they are interested in more articles by our writers. Perhaps they would like to publish one every week. Perhaps more. Finally, tell us about any connections you have made.
Report your successes
- As soon as your piece is published, please send it (or a link to it) to cjwriters [at] inosa.mayfirst.org . Tell us the details: who printed your piece, date of publication, and web site address of your article if it appears online. We will keep a record of sources that have featured pieces from our Writers Network and when.
- If you find any publications that seem likely to publish other pieces from our Writers' Network or other media outlets that accept submissions, let us know so we can share the information with the other writers.
Resources, Background Information, and Important Updates
Examples from archived US Social Forum writers network updates/writers memos: USSF Updates