VetSpeak.org Newsletter - Fall 2012
"VetSpeak.org exists to publish and distribute the crucial voices and perspectives of America's military veterans, families, and supporters; in print, online, and on disc..." (VetSpeak, 2005).
NEW LOOK - SAME MISSION
VetSpeak.org is changing it's look, but not its mission. As part of the New Look, I have moved the VetSpeak Mission Statement & Policy, from the bottom of the page sidebar, to the top. The reason for this is; I believe that who you are and what you are about should always be up front, whether you are a journalist or an activist. Both of these capacities can directly shape the American public's perceptions of Truth. Perceptions, which have been proven to be easily distorted and manipulated by corporate media, politicians, and political opportunists with hidden agendas; all of whom practice the art of political spin and hide Objective Truth from an electorate dying of thirst from lack of it. The way that they manage these re-writes, is with the tried and true practice of re-framing the political and social argument of the moment. They spin Objective Truth in an attempt to somehow reflect their politically altered truth (Lakoff, 2004). VetSpeak.org Speaks only Objective Truth to Power.
Our New Look is the result of Google buying out Blogger and transforming everything over to their formats. The sales pitch is that it makes things easier to manage, and also allows updated interactive technologies for social medias, and on 4G internet media in general, thereby expanding outreach and distribution opportunities. We will see. As a publication, VetSpeak grew up on Blogger. Blogger was like a community; neophyte commentators and techie nerds, all working together in a symbiotic publishing relationship through the user friendly medium of the Blogger platform. Now, when you see Blogger, think Google; a distant, sterile, and for all intents and purposes, inaccessible ring master, for those of us trying to blaze the trail from print media to digital multi-media publishing. No biggie...as the ol' Gunny used to say; "...when all else fails, improvise!..."
I have tried to keep the Look as much like the old one as possible, changing the banner to reflect the theme established on VetSpeak letterheads and business cards...kinda like an old Marine Corps green footlocker, with yellow stenciled identifiers...the main page background represents the desert sand of America's campaigns, since 9-11. The outer background and font color are throwbacks to the old page look, that of parchment. Parchment was the medium used by Tom Paine and other Sons of Liberty pamphleteers to write their commentary and political treatises, such as Paine's Common Sense, and upon which they ultimately wrote the US Constitution on. The image suggests VetSpeak coming off the parchment of Blogger into the 21st century medium of Google, but not abandoning the principles or ideals of Paine and the other Sons of Liberty..
Something else I learned is that while our look is an identifier, our content is our heart and soul. Critical to successfully carrying out our above stated mission is our distribution of that content to an involved activist readership, rather than unfocused shotgun messaging, political pandering, or advertising. We don't spend any time or money for services that "guarantee" readership hits for a fee. We don't try and drive readers to our site; instead; we literally "deliver the news" to our readership. We do this in the hopes that they in turn will share it to their own lists and with friends, FB and otherwise. Our downline distribution is to select closed lists and/or groups and list serves that are made up of veterans, families, and supporters, to include the informational and activist list serves of activist organizations.
REINFORCING THE MISSION
As you can see, we now have two of the four critical elements to success already in place; a new 4g capable platform with updated desktop publishing technology and support, and a 7 year history as a credible and effective medium for publishing the perspectives of veterans, current service members, families, and supporters, and actively reporting on their events, actions, and legislative initiatives that address their particular peace and social justice issues.
However, there are two other elements critical to carrying out the mission that still need to be addressed, and those are; funding and content. These two elements are directly tied to one another. Our VetSpeak business model sets our journalistic standard as; First Hand, Timely, and Well Documented. Much of our content is composed of live blogging or after-action reports, which requires that we be present for the event and/or action to fulfill the First Hand and Timely part of that standard. Without being there, due to the prolonged economic downturn, we have diminished our content capability by becoming dependent on second hand reporting which in turn directly impacts our timeliness.
With a stagnate economy and rising costs for travel, increased funding is the key to securing content that is relevant to our reader base, and true to our journalistic standards. Sadly, we can no longer carry the load out of pocket and with spot donations. As we continue to improve the site, we will be exploring the possibilities of some grants, appeals for perpetual endowments, and serial donation pledges. We have already designed the page for our online store, The PX, and with our new capabilities and increased background space will soon have it on-line. But, for now, we still need to appeal directly to our readers for support, from time to time...and, this is one of those times.
RALLYING MISSION SUPPORT
We realize that finances are a challenge for all hands, so I think its important to point out that there are other ways that you can show your support besides donating money. We think of VetSpeak as a family operation, including our readership. Each member contributes what they can to sustain and/or improve the quality of life of the family. Some write, some organize, some read and share, some read and take action, and some always come through to make it possible for us to make it to an important action or event. If everyone who reads this were to choose just one of the following ways to support our efforts, you would greatly improve the VetSpeak family quality of life, and thereby enable increased relevant content and upgrade distribution capability:
- WRITE FOR US - submit any poetry, personal insight, articles, essays, commentary, and group/organization event notices to firstname.lastname@example.org, attached in Word.doc format and with Attn: Editor in the Subject field. Attach any pictures you want to use in the piece, in the order you wish them displayed. Also, please use the Post A Comment option to join the topic discussion, or to tell us your thoughts on a topic, or our presentation of it.
- FOLLOW US - show your support to others and go to Followers header in sidebar, and click on Join This Site. You may run in to someone there that you know, or that you might like to meet. We will add you to the VetSpeakNet list serve when you choose to follow us.
- SHARE US - share postings that you receive from us on FB, other social media, and on any relevant list serves that you might administer.
- DONATE - to make either a one time or a perpetual cash donation; go to Join The Fight header in sidebar, and click on Donate button for PayPal. Be sure to type in VetSpeak Donation in memo line, for 501 (c) deduction credit. We are currently on a drive to raise $8,000 to cover anticipated travel and expenses and site improvement software through the spring of 2013. A $25.00 donation from each person on our lists, and from all those who read this elsewhere and support our mission, would put us over the top in short order.
- MOBILIZE US - last, but not least, help to put VetSpeak on the road; we are seeking a tax deductible donation of a serviceable, road ready, 4 sleeper RV to use for travel and event support. If you know of a dealer or an individual who might support our mission, and donate one for a tax deduction, please ask them to contact me at email@example.com, with Re RV in the Subject field.x
As we move towards the new year, we will be focusing our pages on the plight of the GI and other Resisters resulting from the continued US involvement in Afghanistan, to include the issue of multiple forced deployments of our troops to that theatre of operations. This in spite of pending clinical evaluations regarding the severity of diagnosis of PTSD and TBI. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) already has instituted a campaign, Operation Recovery, to address this practice.
To deal with the devastating human fall-out of GI Resistance, Vietnam Veterans Against The War/Old School Sappers (VVAW/OSS) has initiated Amnesty for Resisters Campaign 2.0. VVAW/OSS has developed this initiative from working with a group of Toronto Resisters who call themselves the "49ers" (pertaining to the 49th Parallel that separates Canada from the US).
In the coming months, VetSpeak.org will be following up on both of these campaigns and publishing personal essays, advocacy information, and by-lines and blogs from those actively involved in these symbiotic issues. We hope that we can count on y'all to do your part for the mission; read, act on, and share.
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good concience to remain silent."