Documenting your #ProtestPP event
Note: The instructions on this page were provided for a previous event. Look here for instructions on #ProtestPP’s current activity protesting Planned Parenthood partner Stericycle on May 22.
It is important to carefully document your #ProtestPP event to bolster the nationwide impact of this day. If the local media give scant or no coverage to your vigil, you can still disseminate your own account of it—including photos and video—through every possible channel. Your record of the event also helps the national team assess the success of the event and plan future events.
- Taking photos and video
- Sharing the story
- Taking an accurate headcount
- Keep track of news stories about your vigil
Taking photos and video
A picture is worth a thousand words—and a video worth a hundred thousand—but not if they’re an afterthought! Plan to get great photos and videos of your event so you can share the story of this event most effectively.
Take lots of photos of your vigil. Choose a cameraman who knows how to use his or her camera, including how to take a nicely composed picture, how to download images off the camera to a computer or tablet and how to upload them to Facebook, Picasa, Flickr or another photo sharing site.
The cameraman’s only job should be taking pictures, and he or she should take lots of them. It takes dozens of shots just to get a few good ones, and nobody ever lamented taking too many pictures.
Remind the cameraman to charge up the camera battery before the event (and a spare, if possible) and to make sure the camera memory card is completely empty (a spare card is always a good idea, too).
Shoot video of your vigil. If possible, assign a videographer to take footage of the event and, possibly, conduct interviews of your special guests and random attendees. As with the cameraman, choose someone who knows how to use his or her camera, how to download videos off the camera to a computer or tablet and how to upload them to YouTube or directly to Facebook.
The videographer’s only job should be taking video footage, and he or she should be filming continuously.
Remind the videographer to charge up the camera battery before the event (and a spare, if possible) and to make sure the camera memory card is completely empty (a spare card is always a good idea, too).
Sharing the story
After the vigil, the national team will be in touch to find out out things went—including how many people attended your event and whether you got any media coverage. You can also share the story of your event even more widely through social media.
Share photos and video of your service on Facebook. After your vigil, please share some of your photos—and videos if you have them—on the #ProtestPP Nationalwide Candlelight Vigil event page on Facebook. This will help unite all the vigils around the country into one powerful event.
If you’re not on Facebook, you can either join Facebook yourself, or hand this job off to someone on your team who’s already on Facebook.
Take an accurate headcount
It is important to take an accurate headcount at your vigil. Your count will be added to all those from around the country to show the overall impact of the #ProtestPP Nationwide Candlelight Vigil.
Don’t just take a guess at how many people are in attendance. Even experienced activists will typically underestimate the size of crowds smaller than about 200 people, but overestimate larger crowds.
You can’t get a good headcount without actually counting. That’s why it’s important to assign someone the job of headcounter.
There are two ways to get a good count, depending on roughly how large the crowd is:
Option 1: Count every person in a crowd of up to a few hundred. Be sure to include children and babies in your count. You’ll be surprised at how far off your “best guess” was when you actually take a count.
The headcounter and a helper might mentally split the crowd in half and each count one of the halves, and then add them together.
Option 2: Count “samples” for larger crowds. For crowds more than a few hundred it becomes difficult to count each individual participant. In fact, this difficulty may signal that you should instead use the “sampling” method.
Sampling means mentally breaking the crowd into several roughly equal pieces, counting the people in a few of those pieces, averaging them, and extrapolating the headcount from there.
Send your headcount to #ProtestPP headquarters as soon as possible after the event. Please give a straightforward number, avoiding ambiguous phrasing like “200+” or “at least 120.” For accounting purposes, the national team needs a specific number, even if it’s an estimate.
It is preferred for you text your headcount, along with the name of your city, to Eric Scheidler at 773-887-2643. Or you may email it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use only one method for delivering your headcount.
Keep track of news stories about your vigil
Keep a list of links to all the media stories that you find. To help keep this list organized, record both the link to the story and the headline of the story. You should also take note of the reporter’s name for future reference: here’s someone who is interested in our mission and has a vested interest in keeping up with future developments.
Clip out any hard copies from the local newspaper and save them in a safe place.