• Press report 2009

last modified December 3, 2009 by jnardi

The World Social Forum 2009 received an important media coverage worldwide. 800
newspapers from 30 countries were accredited to the Forum. 4500 journalists,
communication professionals and freelances (2500 who worked in Belem and 2000 at
distance), have been in touch with the Communication team of the WSF. [Fair] worked
within the WSF Communication Commission using 3 persons staff full time committed (two
of them presents at the Forum in Belem, one for the International press contacts and one
to support international journalists in the media centre) and a part time resource during the
Forum event to implement the plan we presented. According with the plan, here is a brief
report of what has been done.  
1st phase: Building the map  
Two [fair] resources worked to support the Communication Commission to identify press
officers/resources from the organizations involved in the WSF process able to support a
participatory communication strategy at national/international level but very few has been
the entities strongly engaged in those activities.
Chatting by skype at least one time a week with the WSF Com Com plenary, we tried to
refine the map and we decided to involve Com Com active members in order not to miss
the occasion of direct contacts with editors before the event.
a. Mapping networks and activities  
We proceeded inside the Com Com to stimulate a press pool building, contacting directly
the WSF IC, the LG members and key peoples from the main WSF networks. Our task
was to build up a map of activities and to select main issues to realize press briefings and
common materials to communicate WSF 2009.  We also tried to organize a press
conference race as we did for 2008 WSF Global day of action and we succeeded to
deliver the main event in Rome, with International rehepresentatives, and just some others
around the globe (but less than in the Global Day of Action).
b. Regularly chat and work as press pool  
We regularly met via skype weekly to enlarge the working press pool, trying to engage
each organization available to offer their contribution to contents and issues. We tried to
offer our support to the local press office in Belem, offering International briefings,
translated contributions and clipping, but the response from this staff before the event has
been very poor.   
2d phase: Building the tools  
Due to the impossibility to have any of the media list or listing of the accreditated media for
the past WSF editions, as [Fair] staff we built up a new list with more than 8 thousand
contacts, from USA to Africa, from Latin America to Europe, to Middle East, India and
Working directly with list of WSF 2009 registered media and delegates, thanks to the
support of the WSF office (which had also started with some difficulties), we created a map
of main events with organizations, referents and issues, organized by countries.  We
chose to focus the communication tools on Indigenous movements’ participation and the
peculiarity of the Amazon region, building up the comparison between the glooming Davos
WSF2009 – Communication commission shared projects report – p. 27p
Forum and Belem Forum as the “Forum of the answers” to the Global crisis.  
Great support in raising awareness about the event has been given by Belem Expanded
format team, that directly mobilized several organizations and stimulated interaction with
participants and organizations actives all around the globe.
The last-minute confirm of the participation of the Latin american leaders allowed us to
recall and stress attention by International mainstream media, with focused mailing and
support to the Government accreditation for media who were present in Belem.
3d phase: Activate, motivate, invite and recall  
Com Com members provided to disseminate media briefings with appropriate links, email
and telephone contacts about any different axis of discussion. The Openfsm web page has
been useful to host contents and infos, we had hard and last minute access to the
fsm2009amazonia.org.br web page, and this created lack of information for all the media
which we could not reach directly as Press pool. [Fair] staff, given the difficulty to built up a
participatory Press pool, provided to invite directly and recall the media listed in the new
Map at national and international level, continuously trying to activate and motivate our
networks and inviting press people from the organizations involved in WSF2009/Belem to
raise awareness through their mailing lists.
It has been hard to establish a continuous and effective communication with the Belem
press office before arriving in Belem, to coordinate the press conferences and materials
around the “enlarging Belem” network. It has been possibile just at a “day by day” level, to
organize how to work on Belem events (local press pool, facilitate the press
officers/International media presents in Belem, having a volunteer press pool able to
support almost a daily official press release, press facilities), and we succeeded to support
the international media just with a the support of a few of the Com Com members who
were present in Belem and available for some time in the Media center.
4th phase: Finalize (run-up to WSF 2009/Belem)  
On the eve of the World Social Forum, as [Fair] staff we completed the mapping of media
presence in Belem and an effective media mailing to be stimulated from Belem. We
finalize with Com Com support the global invitation of International media and launched
the draft of WSF program with media briefs, with two recalls before the actual event.  
This media briefing has been the only term of reference for the media activities in Belem
due to the impossibility to have a focused list of events covering all the Forum.
After the global press conferences, we organised a contact list with the confirmed
presences sending mobile contacts and practical info to facilitate journalists to approach
the WFS issues.
5th phase in Belem  
The Press pool and Com Com members are hardly been involved in the coordination
meeting of the local Organizing committee, and it created a lack of information, sharing of
priorities and contacts of the protagonists of the Forum.  
As Press pool we supported the concrete implementation of the Press facilities in the
University of Para with regular meetings and visits with local authorities and tecnical staff.  
With a daily work with the local press staff and thematic referents as Press pool we
identified main issues more attractive for International journalists presents in Belem and
created a program to follow them offering short reports, mobile contacts of referents and
practical infos for accreditations.
As Press pool staff, with the support of WSF office and local press office, we created an e-
WSF2009 – Communication commission shared projects report – p. 28
list to stimulate participation and awareness of all the media contacts presents or not in
We drafted a daily press release - raising awareness and give visibility to independent
media products - recall and spread WSF 2009 message in 5 languages (English,
Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian).
We offered a round-the-clock support via email and mobile to all journalists presents or not
in Belem, with the publicity of the mobile of two [Fair] staff presents in Belem. The [Fair]
resources working form Italy provided background informations, recall and mailing of
focused materials on demand.  
Tha participation of International media to press conferences during the Forum has been
difficult due to the last-minute alert we received from the local organizing committes.  
All the way the visibility of the Forum has been broader than in the past editions, due to the
communication key chose (concrete answers to crisis, Davos weakness, relevance of
Amazon region agenda and indigenous movement’s capacity to raise awareness). We
succeeded to reach media from several areas of the planet (including China, Middle East,
Africa, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia) and global networks, which in our experience have
never been as responsive with regards to the WSF.
6th phase: report!
As Press pool members we collected clipping of mainstream and independent media real
time in Openfsm website, and stimulated media issues collection from all around the world
with a participatory process started through the Com Com working groups and via WSF
newsletter.  As Fair we supported the Com Com evaluation process participating to weekly
Com Com and Press pool chats to measure the impact of our shared efforts, to analyze
our strengths and weakness and better assest our future WSF activities.
With the exception of the Brazilian local media (collected by the local Press office in
Belem), the press clippings we were able to collect have been organised by Continent and
media, and represent a good portion of what has been published on paper and online by
mainstream media worldwide.
Monica Di Sisto, coordinator [FAIR]