Tips for Libertarian Activists


Last updated 1994-07-01 by Tom Isenberg

Here is some Q&A about appointing a spokesperson for your LP group.

We here are looking at setting up a media committee, especially now that we got us some candidates. The idea is to get a group of three people (five max) who can practice working out replies to media when they call for interviews, and prep candidates to do likewise.

Excellent idea! At the very least, all candidates and party officers should get this training. Here in Washington, we do it as part of our annual Campaign Management School in May. (We promote this in one of our quarterly fundraiser mailings to all our members, encouraging them to be candidates or campaign workers or campaign donors for the coming elections.) Let me recommend that you order some of David Bergland's "Bite Size Answers" tapes from Advocates for Self Government (about $10 and I believe you can make and distribute free copies.) They are perfect for this sort of training; I think every Libertarian should own one! Call them at 1-800-932-1776 for a complete catalog.

My question for you: what is your protocol when the media call? Do you assign a spokesperson?

Yes, we assign a spokesperson. I am usually that person, due to my experience and ability and comfort-level. I am also the "receptionist" who checks our statewide 1-800 voicemail system several times a day, so I'm able to meet these needs as soon as they arise. It's a good idea to train your receptionist as well or to at least make sure they have an updated list of authorized spokespersons who are available during the day and also at night.

Do you try to get your top-billing candidate to do the interview (ours has radio experience, which was our main reason for picking him)?

That depends. Sometimes reporters ask for the Chair or for a candidate. But if either of these are poor speakers, I steer them to our "authorized" speakers.

Do reporters generally give out their questions ahead of time, or was it amateurish of me to ask?

It was amateurish of you to ask, but understandable! You should keep a list of questions that reporters typically ask so that you can train people to answer them.

Hope this helps!