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Home Category Table Media Outreach: Getting the Word Out Far & Wide
Media Outreach: Getting the Word Out Far & Wide PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 November 2006 00:00

SOA Watch Update
November 9, 2006

Media Outreach: Getting the Word Out Far & Wide

The story of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC and of you and your community traveling to Fort Benning, Georgia for this year?s November 17-19 Vigil is not only newsworthy but A GREAT STORY! Let local media outlets ?- newspapers, TV, community radio stations -- know about the vigil, the SOA/WHINSEC and your group?s plans to be part of this exciting and historic gathering.

Work With Your Local Media

Media outreach is one of the pillars of the movement to close down the SOA/WHINSEC. The more people know about the history and actions of the SOA/WHINSEC the closer we are to shutting it down. Taking a few minutes of your time to carry out a few media-related tasks can make a big difference.

Here are some suggestions and resources for your media work:

- Contact your LOCAL NEWSPAPER to tell them of your group?s plans to travel to the vigil. Invite a reporter to your next meeting. Ask the paper to request the AP or Reuters article on the protest if they are unable to send a reporter to cover the protest with you.
See below and click here for a sample press release to use in your media outreach ? and to find contact information for your local press.

- Follow up with a PHONE CALL to the media outlets that you contacted.

- BE PREPARED to be interviewed. Learn the two or three most important points you want to make about the SOA and your group?s plans. Click here for tips on working with the media.

- Write a LETTER TO THE EDITOR of your local paper. This can be especially powerful when your letter about the vigil is connected to a recent article about Latin America, foreign policy, dissent or another relevant issue. Click here for a sample letter.

--> Read some TALKING POINTS about the School of the Americas.Click here to read the talking points.

--> Download our PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS and submit them to your local radio stations. Help spread the word about the SOA/WHINSEC and encourage maximum audience participation in the November vigil. Click here to Download the PSA's.

Template for Local Press Release

Fill in the [areas in brackets] with your local info.

for immediate release
November [date], 2006

Local contact: [Name and phone number (cell phone, if possible)]
SOA Watch contact: Joao Da Silva, 202.302.4706
[Your Town] Residents to Join Thousands in Georgia Calling for Closure of Controversial Training Facility for Latin Americans

Rally to Demand ?Zero Tolerance for Torture? and Closure of U.S. Army?s School of the Americas [Your Town] ? This weekend residents of the [your town] community will join thousands from across the nation at Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy and the closure of the controversial U.S. Army?s School of the Americas (SOA).

"Despite a shocking human rights record, this school continues to operate with US taxpayer money," said [local person going to Georgia]. ?Closing the SOA would send a strong human rights message to Latin America and the world.?

The SOA, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place. New research confirms that the school continues to support known human rights abusers. Despite having been investigated by the United Nations for ordering the shooting of 16 indigenous peasants in El Salvador, Col. Francisco del Cid Diaz returned to SOA/ WHINSEC in 2003.

Support for the SOA/ WHINSEC continues to erode. Earlier this year, the governments of Argentina and Uruguay announced that they would cease all training at the school, becoming the second and third countries to announce a cessation of training. In January of 2004, Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuela would no longer send troops to train at the school.

[Person?s name] and [number of others traveling] others will leave for Georgia on [date of departure]. [Sentence about your local group]. Last November, 19,000 people gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning to call for the closure of the school, the largest demonstration yet in a 16-year history of opposition to the school.

[?Insert quote here connecting struggle to close the SOA with a local struggle in your community,? person going to Georgia.] OR [One or two closing sentences about your group: how many years you?ve traveled, how big you are, who?s in it, etc].

# # #

- Download this press release template as a Word document.

- Find out more about the November 17-19 Vigil to Close the SOA.

- Contact Joao Da Silva in the SOA Watch office with questions at jdasilva(at)soaw.org or 202-234-3440 / 202-302-4706.


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phone: 202-234-3440
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