MCFly is supposed to give some coverage of what is going on , climate-wise, in Manchester. Two things have made that more difficult;
a) the inexplicable departure last year of co-editor Arwa Aburawa. (1)
b) the explicable inability of the other co-editor to endure the same old dreadful meeting formats over and over and over again.
So, here below is the first of a new and occasional series of blog posts, modestly on the topic of “how to”. Please suggest topics (forthcoming ones will include ‘how to maintain close relationships with council officers and members’ and ‘how to give polite and implemented suggestions to Steering Groups’.)
Don’t panic. An event report does NOT have to be a stunning work of literature/thinking. It is perfectly okay to give a straightforward account of what happened without offering any “original” insights. That would put you at the novice level. (The Novice to Ninja thing is part of Activist Skills and Knowledge, a separate project…)
You write a straightforward (largely chronological) account that covers the following-
Who organised the event?
What they were hoping to achieve
Who is the speaker/are the speakers?
Who turned up? How many people. Ratio of men to women, people of colour, old/young
What was said by the speaker(s)
What is happening next with this campaign?
How can people get involved?
There are a couple of basic hyperlinks
Practitioner level – (still “passive” and factual)
All the above
How was the Q and A handled – was it dominated by a few confident “usual suspects” or did other things happen?
What were the “best” questions and how were they answered?
What happened at the end (people went off to pub, lots of people left before the end etc)
If you like – how could the event have been improved
There are more hyperlinks
All the above and some killer quotes to hook people in at the outset, framing it not just as a largely chronological story but as either a newspaper or magazine story
You get some brief quotes from organisers and attendees to flesh out who thought what about the event and its effectiveness
You get some photos (with permission, of course!)
Lots and lots of relevant hyperlinks
What did and didn’t “work” in the meeting, and what could have been tried that wasn’t
All the above and also written with verve and accuracy and speed (e.g. goes up the next day).
It’s so vivid that in later years people swear they were actually there.
You point out how it could have been done better using the same space/time/money, and how the meeting compares to other campaigns and where the campaign seems to be where “up to” (in, say, the Movement Action Plan framework)
In any case, say who are you
Declare any interest you have – are you involved in the campaign/opposed to it/
NB – A “Ninja” isn’t always going to write at Ninja level – sometimes they’ll just want to do a novice report. There’s no point, often, in breaking a butterfly on t’wheel…
And, as with all Activist Skills and Knowledge dimensions, it is perfectly okay only to be interested in getting to “novice” level! You do not have to want to become a ninja at anything…
(1) Why leave an unpaid and increasingly surreally repetitive drone gig with MCFly for a paid one in London with Al-Jazeera where they’re only going to teach you production, presenting, research and set you on a path to global media hegemony? Weird.