Journalism Final Pitch

Vault 7: Journalism Story Pitch

Issue Breakdown

Stimulus: Vault 7

Context: Mass surveillance being conducted by US govt on its citizens, in order to watch terrorists & reduce likelihood of an attack

Broader Issue: Using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to use mass surveillance as a means to control the American population

 

Pitch

This story will:

  • Look at the issue of mass surveillance and how the government uses it as a means to control its population

What makes your angle fresh/innovative/original:

  • Most coverage provided by mass media
    • Journalists unable to freely speak their mind, offer their own opinions
  • Lack of opinion and arguments of people who can speak freely and independently

It fits with the content usually found in Vice because it is a story regarding an important societal issue that is not receiving enough air time

It would appeal to its audience because it uses well-known figures in popular culture to unpack a complex societal issue

 

Notes

What publication would this story suit?

  • Vice: independent youth-oriented news organisation
  • The piece would be included in the ‘Vice News’ section of vice.com

Audience:

  • Predominantly young people, high interest in such issues (18-35 year old’s)
  • ‘Free thinkers’
    • People who conduct their own research and form opinions accordingly
  • Critical of government and societal norms forced on them

Type of Media used:

  • The article would be comprise of written text, accompanied by a video of our conversation with our interviewees
  • Below is an example of an article on Vice’s Online website
  • Our article would be formatted in a similar manner
  • We would include the video content at the top of the article, under the title, hoping to catch the reader’s attention with captivating interviews that would lead them to read the rest of the story

 

Sources:

  • We would interview 6 subjects with opposing opinions on the topic
  • Use pop culture figures to support the direction of the story
  • Allow platform for supporters of the surveillance program to defend why they believe it is effective
  • Anti-surveillance:
    • Michael Moore
      • Well-known liberal government critic
      • Unafraid to speak his mind
      • Called Edward Snowden a ‘hero’
    • Joey Bada$$
      • Hip-hop artist
      • Unafraid to question government and speak & write lyrics on controversial matters
      • Openly talked about being under surveillance from the government
    • Oliver Stone
      • Director of ‘Snowden’ movies
      • Known for being critical of government through films
      • Previous work includes ‘JFK’ and ‘Nixon’
    • Ice Cube
      • Former hip-hop artist
      • Was member of gangster rap group N.W.A in the late 1980’s and early 90’s
      • Lyrics include that at “night (he) sees the light through the bedroom window”
        • In reference to being watched as a by-product of his politically charged music
      • Pro-surveillance
        • Mike Pompeo
          • Current CIA Director
          • Openly called for increased surveillance
        • Hillary Clinton
          • Politician and former Presidential candidate
          • Has continuously campaigned for increased online surveillance
        • Questions for sources: (anti-surveillance)
          • Do you believe it is an invasion of privacy for the government to be watching and listening to what people are doing, and why?
          • Can you recall any instances when you have known you are physically being watched: e.g. realise your phone is tapped, been followed by agents?
          • Do you use location scramblers or encrypted messaging as a means of having some sense of privacy?
          • A common defence of the surveillance program from civilians is that they ‘have nothing to hide’. How damaging do you think this naïve attitude is, and what would you say to these people?
          • Do you think the recent revelations (Vault 7) will cause the government to dial back their surveillance or do you think they will keep operating in the same manner?
        • Questions for sources: (pro-surveillance)
          • Is there any evidence that large-scale collection of citizen’s data prevents terrorist attacks?
          • How long is our data stored and at what point do you determine it can be destroyed?
          • It appears there is no stopping our data and information being sold and misused. Who is monitoring the head of the surveillance programs?
          • Vault 7 and the Edward Snowden NSA leaks were multiple instances of 2 separate organisations being caught conducting illegal surveillance of its citizens. Why is the US government not open and honest about the extent of its surveillance program?
          • How would you feel if you were on the other side of the coin, and information was being collected and stored en-masse about you?

Advertising Final Pitch

  • Promote WikiLeaks and encourage young people (18-25) to support.

 

  • Generate CONVERSATION; encourage whistle-blowers to rise.

 

  • #OPENTHEVAULT – transparency, open doors. NO MORE government secrets.

 

  • Social media/guerrilla marketing campaign.

 

  • Crowd-funded/executed.

 

  • Online presence, pictures, posters, flyers, murals, street art.

 

openvault

Advertising Pitch Draft

  • Video from the perspective of Wikileaks – reflecting the clear, transparent nature of Wikileaks.

 

Who are the stakeholders?

  • WikiLeaks/Julian Assange
  • US government
  • The public/the people

 

How effectively are they communicating their position?

 

  • WikiLeaks is communicating their position effectively through the continual release of classified government documents and data, reinforcing their desire for a transparent world of free information.
  • The government is communicating their position by demonstrating why we must have secrets and classified information to protect individuals and groups globally, etc.
  • The public is split; people are either for or against WikiLeaks’ release of information/breach of government privacy.

 

Who is not communicating their position effectively?

  • WikiLeaks is communicating their position through statements and documentation release, yet they are not working toward forming a solid and consistent brand for themselves in order to gain public support.

 

Choose a stakeholder whose position needs better communication.

  • WikiLeaks

 

What do they want to say?

 

In a world of darkness, we bring the light.”

 

Who do they want to say it to?

 

The target audience for WikiLeaks’ new campaign is young people aged 18-35. These people come from various backgrounds and socio-economic situations, but are all united by their desire for knowledge and freedom. Young people are the voice of the next generation; they are future leaders and policy makers. By aiming this campaign at the impressionable, inquisitive minds of this audience, WikiLeaks will see a far greater response due to their curiosity and passion. The audience will respond by altering mindsets or reaffirming beliefs that WikiLeaks is doing the right thing by releasing government secrets. These young people have the current belief that they are wronged by the modern political system and therefore demand information, answers and ultimately, change.

 

Where are they going to say it?

 

This audience is heavily influenced by social media and new media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Due to this, the WikiLeaks campaign will utilise these mediums by means of absolute saturation – that is, cover each channel with words, slogans, images and videos relating to the campaign. These social media platforms are built on community sharing, therefore the message will ultimately spread quickly and gain a huge amount of worldwide attention. This campaign will also aim to transcend traditional mediums and blur the lines between an online and physical presence. A guerrilla-style campaign consisting of banners, flyers, posters, murals, artwork and art installations will be executed across major cities around the world. This will create immediate, physical attention, but will then consequently spark further online chatter and spread.

Journalism Pitch Draft

SPEECH

Our team was given the stimulus of Vault 7, a WikiLeaks release regarding an increase in CIA surveillance methods, through the hacking of mobile devices and household items. This journalism story will investigate the unlawful use of mass surveillance as a vessel of power to control the population.

 

It fits with the content usually found on Vice because it unpacks a critical issue that is not receiving enough coverage in the mass media It would appeal to its audience and uses relevant figures in popular culture to highlight opinions on the topic. We would speak to hip-hop artists Joey Bada$$ & Ice Cube and film directors Michael Moore & Oliver Stone. All of whom have previously voiced opinions on the topic of surveillance.

 

To present counter-arguments in support of mass surveillance we would speak to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the most honest politician we all know, Hillary Clinton.

 

FINAL NOTES

 

Stimulus: Vault 7.

 

Context: Mass surveillance being conducted by US govt on its citizens, to catch terrorists & reduce likelihood of an attack.

 

Broader Issue: Using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to use mass surveillance to control the American population.

 

Target Audience: ‘Free thinkers’, young people 18 – 35 y/o, those who question government actions.

 

Publication: Vice, independent news org.

 

Suitability: Critical issue relevant to young people, celebrities/known government figures adds weight & interest.

 

What publication or news outlet would this story suit?

Vice: independent youth-oriented news organization.

 

Who is their audience?

18-35-year-olds. ‘Free thinkers’ – people who reject commonly accepted truths pushed on society/government. Critical of government/societal norms.

 

What kind of media would you use to tell the story?

Written piece for online publication.

What and who would be your sources?

 

Anti-surveillance:

  • Michael Moore (popular govt critic & filmmaker).
  • Joey Bada$$.
  • Oliver Stone (Director of Snowden, politically motivated movies).
  • Ice Cube (political artist).

Pro-surveillance:

  • Mike Pompeo (current CIA director).
  • Hillary Clinton.

 

Does your story involve any other media beyond written text?

Video interviews would be conducted with celebrities to increase youth interest & add visual appeal.

 

Story pitch:

 

This story will:

Look at the issue of mass surveillance and how the government uses it as a means to control its population.

 

What makes your angle fresh/innovative/original:

  • Most coverage provided by mass media.
  • Journalists unable to freely speak their mind, offer their own opinions.
  • Lack of opinion & arguments from well-known informed figures.
  • It fits with the content usually found in Vice because it is a story regarding an important societal issue that is not receiving enough air time.
  • It would appeal to its audience because Vice audiences are generally free thinking young adults, critical of government and want to learn and think for themselves.

Team Minutes – 10 May 2017

Date:                 Wednesday, 10 May, 2017.
Time:                 3:00 pm.
Meeting Held: Building 9, Level 3, Classroom 7.

Present:             Fraser Baxter
Brittany Seit
Clare Drenen
Michael Levy
Zach Edwards

MEETING PURPOSE: Discussion and finalization of content for final presentation

1. Fraser began conversation by asking how the final presentations were progressing.

2. Michael discussed his new angle on his journalism pitch. Particularly focusing on his new audience.

3. Zach discussed his advertising pitch. He was still unsure about a slogan for the campaign.

4. The group researched current WikiLeaks slogans and possible ideas.

5. The group came up with two slogans to chose from – #OpenTheDoors and #UnlockTheVault

6. The group voted and #OpenTheDoors proved to be the most popular.

7. Clare discussed her work on the final PowerPoint. Specifically asking for opinions on her PowerPoint design.

8. Brittany and Michael both agreed that it might have been difficult to read for the audience and the group picked a more suitable design.

9. Fraser showed the progress he had made on the final report. Specifically discussing what needed to be finalized – production schedule, meeting minutes and finals reflections. He delegated some of these tasks.

10. The group discussed their finalized ideas with Jan.

11. Michael’s pitch was met with some criticism. Jan was still not satisfied with his interviewees and suggested that there needed to be a greater array of people.

12. The group discussed possible ideas – celebrities, artists, radicals, marines etc.

13. Zach’s pitch was also met with some criticism. Jan was not satisfied with the hash tag and the method of distribution for the campaign.

14. Brittany suggested that we revert back to the other hash tag – #UnlockTheVault, which was less cryptic and related better to the campaign.

15. Jan and the group agreed this was a more effective slogan.

16. After some discussion, Zach suggested that a more effective method of distribution could be street art. He claimed this would be inexpensive and more appealing to the target audience.

17. Clare proposed that we take a ‘Banksy’ type approach to the campaign.

18. Jan expressed satisfaction with these developments.

19. Following conversation with Jan, Fraser quickly discussed deadlines and recapped on what needed to be done before the final presentation.

Meeting adjourned 4:15

 

 

Team Minutes – 12 April 2017

Team Minutes

Date:                 Wednesday, 12 April, 2017.

Time:                 3:30 pm.

Meeting Held: Building 9, Level 3, Classroom 7.

Present:             Fraser Baxter

Brittany Seit

Clare Drenen

Michael Levy

Zach Edwards

MEETING PURPOSE: Discussion and distribution of tasks for research presentation.

  1. Fraser began the meeting by suggesting that each discipline should be divided amongst each member of the group.
  2. Considering there were 4 disciplines and 5 group members, Zach suggested that one person should act as a mediator to confer with if an issue arose.
  3. All members agreed that Fraser should take on this role.
  4. Responsibilities for the mediator were discussed. This involved organizing the background information for the task, putting the research PowerPoint and document together for the final presentation. He would also confer with each member on his or her progress and provide help/advice when needed.
  5. Brittany, Clare, Michael and Zach elected which discipline they preferred to be in charge of. Brittany picked media, Clare chose public relations, Michael favored journalism and Zach selected advertising.
  6. Fraser suggested that each member have 15 minutes of their own research time to think about how they would like to present their discipline and to then report back to the group on their idea.
  7. Following the 15 minutes, everyone pitched a rough and potential idea.
  8. Brittany’s media idea was to create a website solely based on Vault 7 from the perspective of one of the tech organizations targeted. She was unsure as to which organization would be the best.
  9. Clare and Michael both suggested that it would be best to take the perspective of Apple, as their 15 minute research had lead them both to discover that Apple had addressed the issue most substantially.
  10. All agreed.
  11. Clare’s public relations idea was to create a PR campaign from the perspective of the CIA. This would involve multiple PR strategies.
  12. From his research, Zach discovered that there had been a previous failing in the rebrand of the company. Therefore, his advertising idea was to rebrand Wikileaks in a more simplistic, concise form.
  13. Brittany questioned what audience he would be directing the rebrand at.
  14. With discussion and reason, the group decided 18-35 was the most effective age for the target audience.
  15. Michael’s journalism idea was to create a story focused on the debate of how the government is using mass surveillance to fight the ‘War on Terror’ and its subsequent invasion of person privacy.
  16. Following discussion, Michael suggested that it would be best to create a Google document so everyone was able to post and view each other’s work.
  17. Fraser claimed responsibility and set up a Google document and group message for any discussion prior to the presentation.

Meeting adjourned at 4:15pm.

 

Final Pitch Draft – Journalism

Final Pitch: Journalism Story (Michael)

Stimulus: Vault 7.

Context: Mass surveillance being conducted by US govt on its citizens, to catch terrorists & reduce likelihood of an attack.

Broader Issue: Threat of terrorism is a predominantly fabricated concept.

Evidence: According to National Safety Council: 1 in 45,808 chance of death from terrorist attacks, 260 times more likely to be killed in a lightning strike (2017). https://www.businessinsider.com.au/death-risk-statistics-terrorism-disease-accidents-2017-1?r=US&IR=T

What publication or news outlet would this story suit?

–          Vice: independent youth-oriented news organisation.

Who is their audience?

–          18-35 y/o, critical of govt/societal norms, ‘free thinkers’ – people who reject commonly accepted truths pushed on society (by govt).

What kind of media would you use to tell the story?

–          Opinion ‘expose’ piece, gonzo journalism.

–          Written text, online.

What and who would be your sources?

–          Edward Snowden (anti-surveillance, privacy advocate).

–          CIA Director Mike Pompeo (pro-surveillance).

Story pitch

–          This story will:

o   Investigate how the government invokes fear amongst its citizens and creates the perception that terrorism is a constant & dangerous threat.

o   Explain why the government resorts to conducting mass surveillance in order to combat this threat.

–          What makes your angle fresh/innovative/original:

o   Most coverage provided by mass media.

  •  Journalists unable to freely speak their mind, offer their own opinions.

o   Gap in coverage from independent sources on the reality of the ‘terrorist threat’ and how this is being combated.

–          It fits with the content usually found in Vice because its involves an independent investigation into a current, news-worthy societal issue, with great audience interest.

–          It would appeal to its audience because Vice readers are generally free thinking millennials, critical of government and information.

Who would you interview and how would you engage with them?

–          Edward Snowden.

o   Communicate via Skype.

o   Known for exposing NSA mass surveillance in 2013.

o   Currently in exile in Moscow – no media presence in recent times.

o   Provide insight on governments fear tactics – how they create false perceptions of risk of terrorism.

o   Why the government might believe that mass surveillance is effective in controlling the populace?

–          Mike Pompeo (CIA Director).

o   Contact for a face-to-face interview.

o   Detail facts of investigation following interview with Snowden and let him counter-argue on government views on terrorism & citizen surveillance.

o   Opportunity to defend government’s standing.

 

Team Agreement

Professional Communication Group Team Agreement:

  • All members will treat each other with respect.
  • Members will attend group meetings and, if required, bring materials and work with them.
  • If members do not understand components of the group work, they will speak up and ask questions of the group.
  • All members will complete work delegated to them in the designated time frame.
  • All ideas proposed must be considered and discussed amongst the team.
  • Members will communicate consistently and transparently with each other throughout the duration of the assignment.
  • There is no I in team.

Signed:

Zachary Edwards

Brittany Seit

Fraser Baxter

Clare Drenen

Michael Levy