Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Making the news - Indymedia

How do we get important stories into the news? Like the stuggle to save the Philippines baby food marketing regulations?

As reported yesterday on this blog, your messages of solidarity were a front-page story in the Philippines' best-selling broad sheet newspaper yesterday, so that's one way.

In the UK, we have yet to gain coverage. We will use the messages for an event here to try to make something newsworthy.

I'm on various lists where journalists can put out requests for assistance with stories. These can be quite general. Recently a journalist for a women's magazine was asking for a 'hearwarming and brave' story. I responded with information on how our partners in the Philippines mobilised over a thousand women to hold a demonstration to protect their infants. We have great pictures showing the decorated umbrellas they used to make an exciting image. But no, not interested in international stories. I had made a UK link with our Policy Director heading out to the Philippines to give her support for the campaign on the breakfast television couches and radio shows. But no. The advice was to get a celebrity on board.

Well we have been receiving messages of support from celebrities such as actess Emma Thompson, so that is certainly a route to go down.

But, as I have said before, the power of this campaign comes from people like you spreading the word, passing around our leaflets and petitions, directing people to our wbesite and this blog. The mass media is not the be all and end all in spreading news. You learn that when despite getting our issue into front-page stories like the Nestlé/L'Oreal takeover of Body Shop we still get emails asking us if we have ever thought of publicising the campaign, 'cos people really should know about it!

We have to tell our own story of the injustices our partners face and the struggle to hold corporations to account.

One great tool for helping with that is the Indymedia website. This has a newswire function, where you can post your stories. This is what Indymedia says it is all about:

"Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth."

So I post our press releases on the Indymedia site, either the international site at or the UK site at

Some news services such as Google news scan the Indymedia sites. Here's an experiment. Try typing "philippines baby milk marketing" or "philippines baby food regulations" into Google news at to find recent coverage (this may pull up some unconnected stories including the same keywords).

If you want to leave comments on what you find please do. Hopefully journalists will start to wake up to the heartwarming and brave story of our partners' struggle, with or without celebrity endorsement, and the list will grow.

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