20.06.13_ Press WG Meeting

Press ’s Docs 20.06.13_ Press WG Meeting

Start/End: 18:10 – 19:05

Present: Obi, Ben, Jamie, Mark, Earthian, Peter D., Liz, Tina B., Vica, Katherine

Minutes: Tina



Press group to consist of everyone involved in press work

Decisions to be made at working group meetings

Extended press group (i.e. not present at working group meetings) can help out with press work but does not have veto or decision-making powers

Two levels of checks and balances: working group meetings and GA

E-mail control to be rotated every two weeks.

K. and O. responsible for Thursday 20th June to Wednesday 3rd July

Press phone number to be investigated (one single phone passed on from one person to another, e.g. giffgaff, versus phone service that can rotate through different phone numbers) – in the meantime, O., L., K. and T. (latter to be confirmed) to have their numbers on the website

Next meeting Thursday 4th July 5:30 pm RFH, 4th floor (green side)


Action points

T. to give K. and O. password to press e-mail account

K. and O. to manage press account until 3rd July

V. to add press numbers to website

T. to start google doc to pool resources for MSM contact list

V. to request from R. admin access to riseup press mailing list

B. to ask R. to add L. to riseup press mailing list

B., K. and O. to review phone options (single phone/SIM card versus service)


Outstanding items

Specifics of checks and balances

Other communication channels (Twitter, Facebook)

Workshops and training setups 

Rethink relationship with MSM 

Rethink remit and relationship with GA

Review relationship between press and outreach



T: Quick debrief on last week’s events. I’m guessing most people have followed what happened through the mailing lists. Basically last week with StopG8, They Owe Us etc., there was a strong demand for press but the original press team couldn’t cope, so V. and I started setting up a new infrastructure and a gradual handover. The idea is to be able to do things a bit better this time round, more open, more horizontal.

B: Let’s make sure everyone first agrees about being horizontally organised.

K: We became used to press being handled and taken care of, changing things will take a lot more talking about everything. Tina: Yes, we need to discuss checks and balances.

V: It’s important to be clear on who takes on what role, for how long.

O: Are we going to have Laura Taylor again?

T: Laura Taylor is dead.

L: We need to rethink our relationship with MSM, we are at the same time entranced and horrified. We need to be careful of prejudices. The best coverage we got at Greenham Common was by the Daily Telegraph. We refused to speak to the journalist but he still did it. We don’t have to seduce them into doing it, it’s important to remember. If we have good actions, the media will want to cover them.

P: It’s true, I get most of my information on tax avoidance from The Times. We need to give people ownership of what they’re doing.

M: The press group should reflect how the whole of Occupy works. We need a lot of communication between GA and press group. Determine the remit. Diversity of voices. Section discussing press strategy. Remit will go to GA. It’s an ongoing process. There should be regular assemblies.

B: Current agreements are that working groups have remit to do their work. Are called to answer to account to GA. We need to be balancing efficiency with horizontality, otherwise it’s never going to happen.

T: Other checks and balances? Within the group?

V: Passwords, personal contacts, trial period for newcomers.

P: Two levels of checks and balances. If one person within the press group decides to announce that Occupy London supports the Free Syrian Army, the press group can bring them into check. If the entire press group decides to support the Free Syrian Army, the GA can say you guys are off track, we are a non-violent movement.

T: Do we have consensus on this, two levels of checks, group and GA? [CONSENSUS REACHED]

V: It used to be that at least 3 people would have to check a press release.

B: At times of urgency, ok for three people. But remember that within our group there are different levels of unity. Important to ensure that these people are different, not all buddies drinking at the pub.

P: Regular group that meets makes decisions. Wider group can help but does not have veto. When the press group actually met, things worked really well this way.

T: Ok, do we have consensus for this proposal. Working group meetings make decisions, wider group can help but is not decision-making. [CONSENSUS REACHED]

V: Broader press group could remain the current press list.

T: I don’t know who’s on that list. I think Ronan is the only one with admin access.

L: Process e-mail. If in doubt, I refer to the process working group, ask their opinion. If confident, bump to main mailing list. Give time limit. Press group usually has deadlines.

B: Do e-mails get forwarded? If I don’t deal with something I mark it as unread.

T: Current press e-mail is google. You can set up forwarding, labeling and all other gmail functionalities.

K: Press list operated on a first-come, first-served basis.

V: Every two weeks it changes, who manages the e-mail account. Have two people.

B: Is this a requirement or an option? I feel more comfortable being buddied up.

K: I can do now, not on Assembly day. Maybe I could have mail forwarded to my phone.

O: I’ll be livestreaming. [K and  agree to manage press e-mail account for the coming two weeks]

B: In conjunction with R and N, we should open out the press mailing list on riseup. I can ask R to give access to more people. Also, can talk somebody through the Occupy London riseup list. There need to be more admins than just V and myself.

K: Maybe we can have two lists and people moving to the new one as the old one peters out.

T: I would agree with Ben in maintaining communication with the original press team, not bypassing them.

B: Who is not on the current press mailing list (riseup)? I can ask R to add L to the list.

T: I’ll set up a PiratePad to collect MSM contacts. Many of us have a few we can pool together.

V: PiratePad is not private.

B: What about Titan Pad?

V: It has a privacy option but Google docs is initially the way to go.[Tina to set up a Google doc to pool MSM contacts]

E: R and N did a lot of work on the press team. Do they know about this meeting? Was this arranged so they couldn’t make it? I’ve been invited to speak at a peace conference in October, I don’t want to speak on behalf of Occupy, can discuss want to say at a general assembly. I’m waiting to hear back from R about this.

T: This meeting was advertised on all mailing lists, press, economics, Occupy London. Meeting date and time was determined by majority vote. Communication with the original press team has been kept open at all times. It’s still open, we don’t want to exclude anyone. As for the press conference, I remember it was advertised on the press mailing list about a month and a half ago. People, myself included, were happy for you to go. Have you contacted the organisers?

E: No.

T: Just get in touch with them and confirm, assuming the invitation is still on. What about the next press meeting?

V: Once every week or two?

K: When it gets busy we can meet more. Once every two weeks, qualified. [Next meeting set for Thursday 4th July 5:30pm at Royal Festival Hall, 4th floor]

T: Ok, don’t want to eat into the organising meeting but there might be some press attention this weekend with the Peoples’ Assembly. In the last couple of minutes, can we get some phone numbers on the website? These are people who won’t necessarily be giving interviews but will know the right people to pass on requests to. [K, O and L volunteer – T mentions T as possible extra]

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