Very often, when there is a human rights issue and a group that needs to draw attention to it, they struggle to find visibility. They often send out press releases to a large number of contacts, often copied off other groups’ emails. You will have received these too – if you were to “reply all” to the email, you will likely find your inbox inundated with delivery failure notifications.
In related-but-separate news, we discovered that emails from grassroots organizations seem to land up in email spam folders disproportionately more often. To cut short an extremely technical explanation, spam “filters” – rules that define what is or isn’t spam – have to be highly precise in order to prevent some of the truly bizarre (not to say dangerous) kinds of spam from looking credible. This means that configuring emails to send can be extremely technical, with most people preferring to use a sending service. Grassroots organizations, or associations of people coming together briefly for a cause, often operate on shoestring budgets and sometimes don’t even have an established sender. This has a predictable effect of lowering visibility for some of the most important issues today.
Often, we have found journalists completely unaware of events unless/ until information becomes available on social media channels. Activists who could have supported each other or coordinated may not know about the possibility until too late. Perhaps the press information sent to them ended up in their mailbox’s spam folder.
We are conducting an experiment to bridge this gap, and encourage both activists and journalists to subscribe to our experimental bridge. To subscribe, all you need to provide is your name and an email, but we encourage you to fill in all the check boxes AND the text box for additional areas of interest. The more information we have about you, the more we will be able to avoid sending you irrelevant emails and make sure you get the right ones.
This will obviously be less efficient in the beginning, but we hope to get more organized and accurate over time.
Activists too should sign up according to their area of interest. This bridge also hopes to have the resources to help journalists find specific on-ground contacts or information and to help activists collaborate.
This experimental bridge is currently an entirely free service – there is no intention to earn from it. However, if this grows to where I have to spend extended amounts of time on it, there may be a minor charge to send out emails on behalf of those who can afford it.