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Organizing a Journey for Justice Event: Writing a News Release

Organizing Journey Events
Journey Event Introduction
Organizing a Public Event
Find a Journey Leader

Register as a Journey XActivist
Types of Meetings
XSpeaker's Forum
XDiscussion Group
XPrivate Meeting
XMedia Appearance

Technical Assistance
Choosing a Meeting Location
Order Supplies

Publicity - You Want It!
XGetting an Audience
XYou and the Media
XNewspaper Listing
XRadio/TV Bulletin (PSA)
XNews Releases & Samples
XDesigning Flyers/Posters
XUsing Mail and Phone
XUsing the Internet!
XPublicizing a Journey Event XXon our Website

Sign-up Sheets/Petitions
Phone Tree
Volunteer Questionnaire

Grassroots Organizing
Getting Started
Starting a Local Group
Expanding Your Network
The First Meeting
Forming a Family Group

Making a Display

Vigil, Rally, Demonstrate
Presenting a Video Series

Reading Room
Intro & Contents
Media Resources
10 Tips to End the Drug War
Becoming an Activist

Communication Skills
Closing Your Letters/Memos
Tax Credits for Volunteers
Working with Legislators
Honest Hope and
XThe Hundredth Monkey
Overcoming Masculine

Adapted from; used with permission
Bottoms Up Version 1.0
©2001, 2003


Writing a News Release

When you read a news story, or pay particular attention to a story on the nightly news, it captures your attention if it's somehow interesting. It might have involved some drama or conflict. It was unusual, simple, startled you, showed children, famous people involved, was funny, about your region, cute, silly or ironic.

For a complete technical discussion of News Releases you will want to visit "You and the Media," but we've prepared sample news releases. Feel free to fill the in the blanks with your meeting particulars, or revise some of the text to suit your local needs.

Mostly, the samples are provided because we didn't want you to start from scratch. Feel free to mix and match quotes and statements and create your own, and perhaps first - News Release. Include any local drug war 'hooks' you don't find mentioned in these samples.

In your news release you will want the reporter to sense that this potential story has some aspects that will catch people's attention. Remember, a Media Advisory announces an event to the press for listing in community calendars only. If you want a story written about your organizing efforts, you will have to write a News or Press Release.

Here's a sample news release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Date of release goes here]
Contact: Local: [Name of Local Organizer and Phone number; National: Nora Callahan or Chuck Armsbury 509-684-1550

Smithtown will be the site of a public discussion on the injustice of the drug war.

The Journey for Justice will be visiting the area to introduce the people behind the statistics that rank the United States as world's leading jailer.

Spokespersons for a national drug policy reform group, the November Coalition, will be highlighting the socials costs of imprisonment due to drug laws and visiting Smithtown to encourage new discussion about the old problem of illegal drugs.

On Saturday evening at 7:00 pm, in Room 27 at Smithtown Community College join Nora Callahan, and Chuck Armsbury of the November Coalition, and Sally Triston, director of the Smithson Housing Matters Coalition. The public is invited to this free event to bring their personal concerns, questions and comments into a public discussion.

Growing numbers of citizens are questioning a policy that has led to staggering caseloads for enforcement officials, and a prison system that is the one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. Convinced that people need to join leaders in seeking solutions that will work, the Journey for Justice travels the country to promote discussion and bring like-minded people together.

"I assist placement of low income families into public housing. A non violent drug offender is disqualified from public housing after release from prison," says Sally Triston. "Our little town has homeless people, and housing that could meet their basic needs."

To learn more about the Journey for Justice and drug policy reform efforts nationwide you can visit www.JourneyForJustice.org, and www.november.org.

"We have to change some laws, and that is why I became involved with the Journey for Justice," explained Triston. "We need to make drug policy reform a priority in our community, and people need to share their views with others. Friday evening that sharing will begin in Veradale."

Here is another sample news release:

Contact: Local [Name of Local Organizer and Phone number]; National: Nora Callahan 509-684-1550 -- For immediate release, [Date]

Group declares war on drugs a waste of human and financial resources

Veradale, May 21 -- Students for Better Democracy has scheduled a public forum that will take place on Friday evening at the Veradale Community Center. Citing soaring incarceration rates, and longer prison terms for nonviolent drug offenses, SBD has invited the Journey for Justice to visit Veradale.

Launched autumn of 2002, Journey for Justice is traveling the continental United States to highlight these troubling facts about our federal justice system, and calling on citizens to assist in reforming both state and federal drug laws. At 7:00 pm, in Room 347, Nora Callahan, the group's executive director and co-founder will give a public address and welcome questions and comments from the audience.

"My brother has been in prison since the late 1980's," says Nora Callahan, "and he is only halfway through his sentence. We are visiting Veradale to stimulate a public dialogue because recent polls tell us that over 75% of the public thinks the drug war is failed, but laws stay the same or get even harsher."

Many states, struggling to balance their budgets, are beginning to release drug war and other nonviolent prisoners early. Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is growing faster than any state prison system in the country.

"The budget for higher education in our state continues to decline while we build more prisons," says Jake Holden of SBD. "A student with a marijuana conviction has restrictions to student loans. The drug war is wasting lives and money, and students have taken notice. We are hoping for a big turnout Friday night; we don't need more prisons - we need solutions."

"The Journey for Justice is educating the public about the excess of the war on drugs, and circulating a petition asking the public to support an early release system for the Fedral Bureau of Prisons," explains Chuck Armsbury, editor of the group's newspaper, The Razor Wire and journey participant. "We can no longer afford the injustice."

The November Coalition is a non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated since 1997 to educating the public about the wasteful and destructive increase in prison population due to the war on drugs. The group has received national acclaim, and recipient of national human right's and citizen action awards.

The Peition for Relief from Drug War Injustice is on the group's website at: www.JourneyForJustice.org/petition


 End the Drug War!