Media Coordinator Update, 12/31/10

Or, as I’m personally labeling this installment, “2010: Year of the Anarchist Op-Ed!”

First, the immediate news, then an unannounced segue into “bigger picture/year in retrospect” stuff:

I’m writing this very early on the morning of the 31st, so I may miss some last-minute “pickups.” Here’s what I have so far for the week:

So, six “pickups” for the week, that I know of so far.

Frankly, I expected fewer — last week’s submissions were down a little from normal, and a lot more of this week’s submissions than usual are getting “autoreply — out of office” responses from editors who decided to take vacation between Christmas and the new year.

If the newspaper names all look familiar, they should; these publications are picking up C4SS material on a regular or semi-regular basis. Obviously I want to see a lot more papers running our stuff, but it’s also nice to know that those who have “discovered” us are sticking with us!

I submitted 8,690 C4SS op-eds this week, to 2,739 newspapers on six continents.

That number is still a little below the 10,000+ “norm” I want to achieve, but it’s up from last week. A lot of factors play into how many submissions get made:

Some content is very “US-centric” and realistically only submittable to the 1,858 newspapers on my US lists. Other material may be global enough in scope to submit to all of the 881 non-US papers I’ve got on my lists at the moment, or the context may call for more discrete targeting.

I’m also trying to submit every one of our pieces to at least some newspapers, but not to hit the same paper with C4SS material two days in a row (my requests for removal from future submissions increase when papers get something from us every day). Sometimes this means that the US newspapers get split between two or three pieces, instead of each piece going to all of them — or that a piece waits a day or two before submission to some or all papers.

It’s looking a lot more like an art than a science. I think I’m getting better at it, and I hope you’ll bear with me as I continue to experiment.

So far this week I’ve added newspapers in the UK, Kenya, Nigeria, Argentina, Albania, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Gibraltar to my submissions database. Please note that sometimes you’ll see my total number of newspapers claimed has gone down or stayed the same. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped adding newspapers. It means that removals — on request or because an address has “gone bad” — have equaled or exceeded additions.

When I started this job, one of my conditions was that C4SS pay for a one-year “pro” membership in a worldwide media directory, where I find publications and their contact information (sometimes — other times there’s just a web link to the main page and I have to dig through the site to find it). I’ve been mining that directory for seven months now. Over the next five months, I intend to exhaust it.

As I write this, we’re creeping up on 100 mainstream media “pickups” since I started this program of mass submissions and of attempting to track those “pickups.”

That number looked pretty low to me until last week, when I got a fundraising message from another libertarian movement outfit which shall remain nameless (they’re good folks who do good work — I’m not trying to embarrass them here, but … well, you’ll see in a minute).

That fundraising message mentioned that the outfit has more than 500 newspaper-published op-eds under its belt …

… since 1988.

That’s 23 op-eds per year.

We’re pushing toward 100 in seven months. I think that we’ll hit 200 before the end of June, 2011.

I don’t know how many people the Center’s market anarchist message has reached, but I do know that we’ve made more than five million newspaper reader “impressions” (based on public circulation figures) this month. For all of 2010, I’d be surprised if that number is less than 10 million.

That’s not enough to let us rest on our laurels by any means … but it is enough to make me feel a whole lot better about the results of our efforts.

I’m looking forward to 2011. I expect it to be a year of crisis for anarchism in the Chinese sense. By this, I mean that I once read (it may have been in Heinlein) that the Chinese ideogram for “crisis” is the conjoinment of the ideograms for “danger” and “opportunity.”

Over the last few days, European anarchist groups have taken — or at least received — credit for several bombings. Between that and the recent, at least nominally anarchist, outbreaks of pro-Wikileaks “hacktivism,” the mainstream media are definitely beginning to take notice of anarchism.

The danger: There seems to be a new “black scare” brewing up. While that’s a sign that anarchists and anarchist ideas are having an impact, it’s also likely to portend a certain amount of ugliness. The state is most dangerous when it perceives itself as besieged.

The opportunity: I don’t agree that there’s no such thing as bad publicity … but even bad publicity creates interest. No idea attracts as much attention as an idea that visibly inspires fear among the political class. Our job at C4SS is to address the interest and attention in anarchism — whatever the inspiration for that interest and attention might be — and to turn it into agreement with and support for anarchist ideas.

Thank you for your support as we took major steps toward accomplishing that mission in 2010. I hope you’ll continue to support us through what looks like a promising 2011.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Media Coordinator
Center for a Stateless Society

ADDENDUM: Kevin Carson’s piece “Bradley Manning: One Soldier Who Really Did ‘Defend Our Freedom'” has made the front page of Reddit and the web site is now under a very heavy traffic load. We like that. Please keep voting the post up on Reddit! Thank you. — Brad Spangler

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