‘Climate Emergency #Manchester – “How to.. write a press release”

In our recent With Love and Rockets report, we promised a short survey. Please fill it in!

We also promised a bunch of ‘how to’ posts – How to lobby your councillor, How to write a press release How to write a letter to the Editor, How to write a FOIA, How to design a meeting (facilitation is a whole other game).

Here’s the first one – on press releases. Let us know what you think, and if you have other tips, let us know

A few things to remember before we begin

  • Journalists are super super busy
  • They are NOT (usually) experts in your particular issue.
  • The easiest way to get their sustained attention is not twitter trolling or accosting them in the street, but writing a press release.
  • Press releases have been around for a century (they were invented by a railroad company trying to control bad press over a train disaster that was totes their fault, but I digress). Journalists get dozens (at least) of press releases a day, mostly from PR companies and from government bodies. There’s an agreed format for them, and they are a good way of getting relevant info over quickly. Most news stories deal with who, what, why, when questions in their first paragraph, and press releases follow the same format.

A press release has to

  • Be short (more than a page, and your chances of ending up in the bin rise exponentially)
  • Have a clear, grabby headline that explains what the conflict is
  • Explain whether it is for immediate release or ‘embargoed’ (which means they’re not supposed to use the info you have sent them until after the time you put on the press release. This is so your website or whatever gets first dibs, but they can quickly do a story that makes it look like they have their fingers on the pulse.
  • Have an introductory paragraph that explains who, what, where, when, why
  • Include a useable quote (max of three or four sentences) from a named individual
    Includes further information if editors want to find out more (websites, background info)
  • Include contact details (mobile phone, twitter) for someone who can act as a spokesperson for the group (ideally the same person as was quoted in the body of the press release.

Ultimately though, if you are going to get media attention this

  • Is going to take time (months, not weeks)
  • Will involve you building relationships with journalists
  • Will be undercut if you send too many press releases, too many bad ones.

So, nothing like an ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek worked example. (albeit with a too long quote) from our good friends at Castle Grayskull, aka ‘The Town Hall’

 

Title: Council gives climate critics 23 thousand pounds
For immediate release

Manchester City Council is giving the most vehement critics of its climate change action twenty three thousand pounds, no strings attached. The move comes as the public relations efforts of the Council to burnish its reputation have all spectacularly backfired (1)

The council is arranging for the money – a grand for every year that its leader, Sir Richard Leese, has been in charge – to be transferred immediately. The recipient organisation is Climate Emergency Manchester (2), which has released a series of reports that have intensely irritated the Council’s leadership.

Sir Richard Leese said “They have got us bang to rights. The claim of a 48% reduction in the council’s own emissions that we have been making is indeed, as they have pointed out, simply a by-product of the last ten years of austerity. We have shown zero real leadership over the last ten years to create a ‘low carbon culture. 23 grand is nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands we have spaffed against the wall on that community interest company pretending to be an “Agency’ I feel like giving someone a clip round the ear. Personally, I have known about the importance of climate change and local authority collaboration with citizens since 1994, and have done nothing.”

The Council hopes that the money will corrupt CEM and bring it into the fold of tame fig-leaf organisations that it has created and nurtured to avoid scrutiny.

Notes to editors

Multiple puff pieces fed to the Manchester Evening News have been met, rightly, with derision on social media. Sadly, we now realise that cobbling together all the funding from various irrelevant schemes and coming up with a big number doesn’t fool people like it used to.

(2) Climate Emergency Manchester was founded in March 2019. There are now five core group members (despite what Richard Leese said recently) and they are an absolute pain in the arse.

Contact details

Depress officer
Sandy N’yereyes
0161 8675309

This would be sent out to tv stations, radio stations, websites and even to newspapers. One of them would pick it up and get a react quote from Climate Emergency Manchester. Then a story would appear like this.

Campaigners sensationally reject ‘blatant climate hush money’ from Council.

Manchester City Council’s efforts to buy off climate opponents has spectacularly back-fired today. Reacting to the Council’s offer of 23 thousand pounds, a spokesperson from the campaigning group Climate Emergency Manchester said “they can take their 23 grand and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, like between the ears of Councillor [redacted on legal advice].”

The Council had offered the money in the hope of rendering Climate Emergency Manchester another vacuous ‘fig-leaf’ organisation. Announcing the offer, Council Leader had admitted the council’s claims of steep reductions were ‘simply a by-product of the last ten years of austerity”

Climate Emergency,Manchester, which has recently released several reports, one of which accused the Council of moving at the speed of a dead tortoise on climate change will continue submitting Freedom of Information Act requests and linking individuals and groups across the city to help create a socially just rapid transition to a zero carbon society.

“First they ignored us, then they smeared us. We knew their chequebook would be along soon enough, offering blatant climate hush money . It may have worked on [redacted on legal advice] but we want action. Richard Leese should put the money towards his retirement, which is LONG overdue. Twenty five years of words is enough – we feel the need, the need for deeds.”

The Council is reported to be considering its options. A spokesperson said that It knows some guys who drink at the City Arms who arrange serious – even fatal – “accidents” for very reasonable rates, cash in hand

Prof Kevin Anderson on #climate, Cohen and what is to be done… #Manchester

Before you watch this footage of Professor Kevin Anderson (filmed in WonkyCam), please fill in this very short survey.  You can do it anonymously…

Prof Kevin Anderson, of University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre was in typically robust, take-no-prisoners, call-a-spade-a-spade form as he spoke to a room of young and old at the University today.  Here are the three videos, covering the talk and (some of) the Q and A.

First part

Second part

Third part (inc Q and A)

 

Weekly digest 11-17 November. #Manchester #Climate stuff

Climate Emergency Manchester works to scrutinise the City Council’s actual action on climate change (as distinct from promises), and to connect people in Manchester who are working for a greener fairer city. The core group has five people. You don’t have to come to meetings to be active, involved, and useful. We give a damn about your development. We will try to do weekly bulletins for a bit. Apologies in advance if we miss something or some weeks. Most bulletins will appear on Sunday or Monday.

Please fill in this short (five question) survey about climate action and Manchester

 

  1. What is coming up in Manchester this week (specifically on climate change)

[NB appearance in this calendar does not reflect the endorsement of Climate Emergency Manchester, or a guarantee of quality.]

Protests and campaigns meetings

  • Monday 11th, 7-8.30pm The UK’s Pathway to Net-Zero: where do local authorities come in? Friends of the Earth Event –  Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham St, Manchester,
  • Tuesday 12th, 7.30pm Planning for the next Climate Strikes, Mechanics Institute 103 Princess St, Manchester M1 6DD. Latest details on Facebook event page
  • Wednesday 13th, 1pm – FRED Talk with Kevin Anderson (hosted by Fossil Free University of Manchester) Can meaningful hope spring from revealing the depth of our climate failure? Samuel Alexander Building Rm SG.16, University of Manchester,
  • Wed 13th, 7pm  Manchester Climate Action Organising Meeting. Dulcimer Bar, 567 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0AE  Latest details on Facebook event page
  • Friday 15th, 12 noon Fridays for Future. St Peters Square (in front of Central Library)
  • Saturday 16th, 930am – 5pm Energise – a day of retrofit learning and inspiration (see interview with organiser here).

Council meetings – (see calendar here)

  • Planning and Highways on Thursday at 2pm. Do take your video cameras and film to your heart’s content. No need to ask anyone’s permission…

 (Please, never ever go to a Scrutiny Committee on your own, especially your first time. A more alienating and intimidating experience is hard to imagine).

Manchester Friends of the Earth maintains a VERY good calendar on their website (we have pinched stuff for this bulletin!)

You can also sign up for their weekly digests here

2. Recent stuff on/Stuff that will be appearing on the CEM website this coming week

Here are our two recent reports

hdqimage

The Dead Tortoise Society – assessment of Council’s actual climate action (as opposed to bluster and bluff)  based on Freedom of Information Act requests

With Love and Rockets – positive suggestions about what the Council (and Joe/Jane Public could do).

Here’s a letter which appeared in the Manchester Evening News on Saturday about the total lack of response from Manchester City Council to this report.

We will, honestly, start posting the promised ‘how to’s on our website.  First up, how to lobby a councillor….

3. Urgent jobs and roles CEM would really like people to take on

Jobs

  • Contacting your councillors (you can find them here) and ask them what they are doing/planning to do in their wards.  
  • Getting us (any one or two of the five of us) invited to speak at your church/mosque/trade union/community group, you name it.  We prefer to do interactive workshops, but can also do traditional ‘talk followed by Q and A format if you like.
  • (more jobs coming soon!)


Roles

  • Someone who will read the Manchester Evening News everyday and let us know “things that are of interest,” especially if the Council is making claims, or big carbon-intensive infrastructure is being built
  • Someone who will keep an eye on what other cities are doing on climate change (especially but not exclusively UK) and let us know…

If nothing here floats your boat, please email us on climateemergencymanchester@gmail.com

It also really helps us if you fill in our get involved form, which asks what skills and knowledge you have and what you’d like.

4. Brilliant stuff we have read and think you’d like to read too

A must-read piece by long-term campaigner Pete Abel on trying to get the City Council to be slightly less appalling on its transport decisions…

This bulletin will evolve (or possibly regress).  Make suggestions as you see fit!

 

Innovate4Manchester – tackling the #climate challenges of #Manchester 26/7 November

Click here to register for this free event

innovate4manchester.png

Join Manchester City Council and partners for an evening and day at Innovate4Manchester – a collaborative event that aims to address some of the most pressing concerns we face on energy and mobility in Manchester today. We want to think about issues such as:

  • How might we shift people to different transport types?
  • How might we encourage walking and other forms of active travel in the city centre?
  • How might we improve road quality for cyclists (and other road users)?
  • How might we use transport more effectively?
  • Where might additional electric vehicle charging points be located?
  • How might we demonstrate the effects of peoples’ behaviour on air quality?
  • How might we support the case for developing high quality residential areas within existing urban centres?

Innovate4Manchester offers the opportunity for collaboration, problem and solution exploration, and constructive pitching sessions. We are offering prizes for winning teams and ongoing support provided to help you launch and grow your venture. So, if you want to make a positive contribution to help Manchester achieve Zero Carbon by 2038, this event is for you! Take a look at the city’s plan for Zero Carbon 2038

Is this event for me?

We want to attract a diverse range of attendees to the event. Whether you’re a Manchester resident affected by the challenges, or someone who has experience of addressing them, your input will be invaluable.

We are also keen for anyone to attend who can contribute towards potentially building solutions to the challenges, for example:

  • Developers & techies
  • Students
  • Entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs
  • Data scientists
  • Technologists
  • Service designers

Could you help finance potential solutions? Do you have a vested interest in the challenge areas? Can you help develop ventures? If so, you’ll be a useful addition to the event.

The event is supported by Manchester City Council and partners in the EC Horizon 2020 funded Triangulum project. These include: Siemens, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Pixel Mill Digital, working with Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Team.

Event format

A full agenda will be sent to everyone who register’s – our plan for the event is:

Tuesday 26th November: 6pm – 9pm

  • Introductions and welcome from MCC – why are we here and what are we trying to achieve?
  • Introductions from the facilitators – Ordnance Survey’s Geovation team
  • Icebreaker exercise – getting to know each other
  • Introduction to the Problem Briefs from the Problem ‘owners’ at MCC
  • Solution exploring – and team formation
  • Introduction to the tools; data and resources available for the day

Wednesday 27th November: 9am – 6pm

  • Welcome back and agenda for the day
  • Recap on objectives/problem definition
  • Recap on successful innovation
  • Working in teams
  • Pitching, judging, prize giving and next steps

Prizes and Next Steps

Successful participants will be invited back for a workshop on the 4th of December with the Ordnance Survey Geovation team to develop and refine their solutions. Please keep this date in your diary.

Cash prizes are up grabs along with support from Manchester City Council and Ordnance Survey’s Geovation team and Triangulum project partners with a one day business proposition workshop. You’ll also have the opportunity to work closely with the problem owners at in the city.

  • £500 per winning team
  • A follow-up workshop/training day to develop winning teams’ respective propositions
  • Opportunity to engage with the city to develop their ideas further

Where

The event is being hosted in the Bright Building on Manchester Science Park.

Food and refreshments provided throughout the evening and day

Triangulum is a European Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse project (SCC1) funded by the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement number 646578

2030-ish zero carbon date for #Manchester – report to be released

The core demand of Climate Emergency Manchester’s petition (now closed – thanks to all who signed and got others to sign) was that the date by which the city is supposed to be carbon neutral be brought forward. This below,
reposted from Manchester Climate Monthly, gives an updated…

The Executive of Manchester City Council WILL receive a ‘zero carbon by when?’ report this year.

Speaking today at the City Council’s Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee (1), Councillor Annette Wright (2) stated

“I’ve confirmed with the Leader [Richard Leese] that the report on bringing the date to become carbon neutral forward to 2030 is definitely going to go to the Executive before the end of the year.“

The next Executive (3) meeting is on Wednesday 11th December, at 10am. Held at the Town Hall Extension, it is open to the public (We are assuming here that ‘Executive means a public meeting, not an email round-robin between elected and unelected ‘Executive’ types. Call us Pollyanna.)

A report had been promised as part of the July 10th 2019 Climate Emergency Declaration. The original text of the motion proposed to commit the City Council to

Continue working with partners across Manchester and GMCA to deliver the 2038 target, and determine if an earlier target can be possible, through a transparent and open review.

A Liberal Democrat (4) amendment

Explore the possibility of introducing a 2030 target in line with the IPCC report and request that a report on its viability be brought back to the Executive before the end of the year.

was accepted. And the whole motion approved with applause and general backslapping.

However, there had been a distinct lack of specific action since then (see the report of Climate Emergency Manchester (5) ‘The Dead Tortoise Society;). At the Climate Group Subgroup meeting on 22nd October, a Liberal Democrat Councillor, Richard Kilpatrick, tried to get a straight answer out of the Executive Member for the Environment, with, to put it charitably, very limited success (see footage and transcript here).
While a report going to Executive is good news, there are many unresolved questions.

  • Is this the council’s idea of a “transparent and open review”? Srsly?
  • Will individual councillors get to voice their opinions (for example, at Full Council, which is next happening on Wednesday 27 November at 10am.
  • When did the Council – or its wholly owned subsidiary, the so-called “Manchester Climate Change ‘Agency’” (6) (approach the Tyndall Centre to do work on this? Did they wait three hours after the declaration was passed? Three days? Three weeks? (What was their sense of urgency)
  • What, specifically did they ask Tyndall Centre to do? What time frame was given?
  • Did the Council demur if Tyndall asked for some, well, money? If so, why did the Council not cough up. Either this is an emergency or it isn’t?

Footnotes

    1. This is one of six scrutiny committees which are obliged to keep tabs on what the City Council’s elected and unelected leadership are doing. The other committees are Health, Economy, Resources and Governance,
    2. Councillor Annette Wright is a Labour Party councillor, for Hulme ward. She proposed the Climate Emergency motion in June this year. It was unanimously approved on July 10th. Councillor Wright also chairs the Climate Change Subgroup, which met for the first time on 22nd October, and is planning to increase the frequency of its meetings.
    3. The Executive of Manchester City Council is made up of ten councillors from the Labour Party. The leader – since 1996 – is Richard Leese.
    4. Manchester City Council has 96 councillors (three for each of 32 wards). At present, 93 are Labour. Didsbury West has three Liberal Democrat councillors.
    5. Climate Emergency Manchester currently has a core group of five people – Marc Hudson (also editor of Manchester Climate Monthly), Calum McFarlane, Chloe Jeffries, Marion Smith and Ben Gardener. Its latest two reports are
      The Dead Tortoise Society, released on the 3 month anniversary of the City Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration, and was based on Freedom of Information Act requests. It showed that the Council has moved very slowly (at the speed of a Dead Tortoise, in fact) to enact the 23 elements of the motion.

      With Love and Rockets was released on Monday 21st October. It is full of practical, cheap ideas for building momentum for climate action in the city. So far the Council leadership has refused to acknowledge its existence.

      You can get involved via filling in this form</

    6. This entity, its future under review, is actually a community-interest company immune to Freedom of Information Act requests.

#Manchester and pollution vs growth debates – same as the mid-1990s…

Read this, please

kitchen 1997 policy conflicts

 

The author, Ted Kitchen, was Manchester’s chief planner, resigning in 1995. That resignation came in the aftermath of the defeat of some very green Labour councillors, who tried – and ultimately failed – to get the Council’s leadership to move beyond boosterism and empty rhetoric.

Thank goodness everything is so very very different today.

#Climate Events in #Manchester in November

cem november calendar

CLIMATE EVENTS IN MANCHESTER

NOVEMBER 2019

No guarantee of completeness – if you know of more climate-related events in Manchester, email us at climateemergencymanchester@gmail.com, with ‘event’ in the subject header.  Appearance here is not an endorsement of the event, btw.

Monday 4th, 6pm new ppl induction, 6.30 start  XR Manchester  meeting, the Breadshed

Tuesday 5th, 7.15pm – 9pm Frack Free Greater Manchester,   Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LE info@frackfreegtrmanchester.org.uk

Wednesday 6th, 2pm   Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee (May have stuff on Tyndall… and 2030 but we won’t know until the day?!

Weds 6th, 6.30pm Better Buses in Manchester – a public meeting for our buses (hosted by Better Buses for Greater Manchester) Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL

Thursday 7th, 10am  Economy Scrutiny Committee (talking about Green Skills) Manchester Town Hall Extension

Thursday 7th, 7pm   Social Media for NGOs training at Patagonia, King St

Friday 8th,12 noon Fridays for Future. St Peters Square (in front of Central Library)

Monday 11th, 7-8.30pm The UK’s Pathway to Net-Zero: where do local authorities come in? Friends of the Earth Event –  Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham St, Manchester,

Wednesday 13th, 1pm – FRED Talk with Kevin Anderson (hosted by Fossil Free University of Manchester) Can meaningful hope spring from revealing the depth of our climate failure? Samuel Alexander Building Rm SG.16, University of Manchester,

Friday 15th, 12 noon Fridays for Future. St Peters Square (in front of Central Library)

Saturday 16th, 930am – 5pm Energise – a day of retrofit learning and inspiration

A day of workshops and seminars offering all the knowledge you need to retrofit you home and make it safe for a ‘climate emergency’ world.. See carbon.coop for more info.

Wednesday 20th, 7pm – 9pm Aviation and the Climate Crisis– hosted by Flight Free UK, An inspiring event exploring the climate impact of aviation, flight-free travel, &  how people power can save the world. Bridge 5 Mill 22A Beswick Street Manchester M4 7HR

Thursday 21st, 6pm Green Drinks – Carbon Jargon Busting with Dr Joe Blakey, Methodist Centre, Oldham Street

Friday 22nd, 12 noon Fridays for Future. St Peters Square (in front of Central Library)

Saturday-Sunday 23rd/24th Local Youth Climate Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University. Details https://lcoyuk.wixsite.com/lcoy

Tuesday 26th­­, 7pm Manchester Friends of the Earth   free film screening of “The Race is On: Secrets and Solutions of Climate (2019)”. MMU Business School (room TBC), lasts about 40 minutes and will be followed by a discussion for those interested.

Friday 29th, 12-3pm Global Climate Strike.  St Peter’s Square

Climate Emergency Manchester exists to help people in Manchester understand what is going on, and to take action.  This includes scrutinising Manchester City Council and making positive suggestions. You can get involved for an hour a month, a day a week…

www.climateemergencymanchester.net   & @ClimateEmergMcr