Media Coordinator Mid-Month Update, May 2015

Dear C4SS Supporters,

This is a new feature designed to keep you up-to-date with what we’re up to here at C4SS. This report will not be as in-depth as the monthly report, but it will feature some key numbers such as: number of pickups, and number of submissions to date. It’ll also function as sort of a digest of what we’ve published lately.

So far in May, we’ve made 12299 submissions to over 2150 newspapers worldwide. If that number seems low right now, it’s because we’ve only published 10 op-eds so far this month, and not all of them got a worldwide distribution. As of this writing, I’ve recorded four pickups for our articles, with more on the way.

Now, earlier this week I got a Facebook message from someone who was curious to know what my “process” for submitting articles is. Given that I’m still trying to figure out what that answer is myself, I figure it would be edifying to share this with y’all.

The Mailing List

This is where it all starts. I inherited this list from Tom Knapp, who had built it up from basically nothing over the space of about five years. It’s divided up over various regions: The US, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East and Israel, Europe, Asia, Africa, the UK, Australia and then two short lists for foreign policy and left media. Altogether, we’ve got a “list” of about 2150 various newspapers and media outlets who might be amenable to publishing our work.

During my first month on the job, the biggest headscratcher for me was figuring out how to actually send articles out to 2150 unique email addresses. Eventually, after struggling with manually sending bulk emails out, I settled on using Mailchimp to do the job. It’s one heck of a lot easier to manage.

But while having an email list is great, and while having an email list manager is even better, it’s all useless if I don’t have anything to send. Which is where our op-ed commentaries come in.

The Commentaries

Like I said, as of this writing we’ve published 10 op-eds this month. Before they’re published, they go through a vetting process in our internal workgroup, where each of the other fellows here at C4SS can read an article and see if it fits two important criteria:

  1. is it written clearly and succinctly?
  2. is it anarchist enough?

Sometimes this process can take a while. If an op-ed is time sensitive, that process may be abridged. After that, it’s cleaned up and scheduled for publication. Once the piece is published, it’s ready to be sent off to the mailing list.

I don’t automatically send every piece to every email or region on the list, as a rule. Take Billy Christmas’s latest article on the Tory victory in the United Kingdom, for example. While this article arguably is of interest to everyone who would normally read C4SS (and you should go read it), that isn’t how newspaper editors judge what to publish. Whether it’s a local or national outlet, what is of prime importance to an editor is whether or not a piece is relevant to their readers. US-based newspapers are drastically less likely to publish articles on the Tory victory than papers based in the UK or even in the “commonwealth” of Canada and Australia.

Likewise, an article about a US politician doing something that is only going to affect US citizens may not necessarily be relevant to readers in, say, China, Spain or Latvia. So for each article that gets published here, I have to determine the target audience. Once that’s done, it’s a simple assembly line process of crafting the email and sending it out. All in all, the whole process usually takes about 10 to 30 minutes per article.

Of course, none of this would be possible without your support.

Check back in at the end of the month for a more in-depth look at our numbers!

Yours in solidarity,
Trevor Hultner
English Language Media Coordinator
Center for a Stateless Society

Anarchy and Democracy
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Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory