Welcome to Activist Land!

Activist Land provides tools and a pragmatic forum for the progressive activist community. It aims to complement traditional political blogs by emphasizing how you can get involved in specific issues and how to integrate activism into your life in an effective and sustainable way. Therefore, in addition to calling for action on a particular issue, it encourages people to post "activism opportunity" posts that describe the nuts and bolts of how one would, or did, take action in a particular instance.

My main area of focus is media reform. I've been working with Save Boston's Progressive Talk to help bring progressive talk radio to Boston, and I've written interviews to publicize "The Real News", an independent international news network. My secondary area of focus is election integrity. I maintain a set of Voting Rights pages with an emphasis on an election integrity timeline. I've written pieces on these and other subjects for Daily Kos and my local newspaper. For more info, see my first post. Come and join the community!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Activism Opportunity: KLSD, Part 2

On Sunday, I interviewed Jon Elliott about KLSD. Jon is a talk show host based in San Diego whose show is broadcast on KLSD and also nationally. From my diary at Daily Kos, Jon Elliott Wants You to Save KLSD:

The fact that Jon Elliott commented [here at Activist Land] on my previous post got the wheels turning in my head, and it occurred to me that perhaps I could ask him about the situation at KLSD myself. So I sent him e-mail and invited him to call me back on my cell phone, then went ahead with my day. To my surprise, as I was in the supermarket, the phone rang and there he was. I got a kick out of the idea of conducting an interview right then and there over the cell phone in the frozen foods aisle -- hey, didn't Bob Woodward speak with Deep Throat in a parking garage? -- but realistically speaking, I knew I was better off going home, throwing the food I'd bought into the freezer, sitting down at my computer, and calling Jon back. Fortunately, Jon was agreeable.

I'm going to use this diary to analyze the whole activism opportunity rather than recapitulate the diary.

The high point of the experience was definitely the interview with Jon. I enjoyed speaking with him, but, somewhat surprisingly, I thought it was kind of neat that proposing, conducting, and writing up the interview felt so comfortable and almost ordinary, while five years ago, I would have never thought of doing it at all. I credit the blogosphere for giving me both a place to publish and an audience.

That said, I don't think the blogosphere does nearly as much as it could in terms of paying attention to the right subjects. And hence the low point: waiting for more people to visit my diaries.

My first interview with Paul Jay, founder of Independent World Television/The Real News, inoculated me against some of the disillusionment I would experience later. I had spent half a year chasing Paul down, preparing the interview, conducting it, refining it, passing it by him, and finishing it up. Then, in accordance with their wishes, I waited until they had revised the website and prepared it for new visitors. I also marketed the diary very energetically. I even ended up sending e-mail notices to a list of a hundred people who had written or commented on IWT a year and a half earlier. I had laboriously harvested their addresses from their profiles -- that is, from those profiles that provided addresses at all.

It got some eyes, but not nearly enough, certainly not as many as the blogosphere soap opera taking place that week along the lines of "Is X really a troll?" As a result, there are still many people out there who don't know about IWT/TRN.

So that experience, frustrating though it was, taught me a lot. In the short term, if I want to get a message out, I need to go beyond Daily Kos. (Fortunately, this isn't too hard to do. I've cross-posted on Political Cortex, Booman Tribune, Diatribune, ePluribus Media, and COAnews.org. I've been astonished to see how many more views are reported for the stories I post at COAnews than the ones I post at Daily Kos, even though Daily Kos is the biggest political blog around.) In the long term, I need to help build a better message network. That will be a major focus of Activist Land. In my next post, I'll tell you about my conversations with Ben Melançon of People Who Give a Damn. If all goes well, Ben, the other PWGD-ers, and I can make progress toward the goal of constructing a powerful message network for everyone.

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