Rhetoric for Radicals

| March-April 2009

OK, so you’ve finally got Anderson Cooper (or your local lifestyle-beat reporter) on the line. What do you say? “Improving your communication skills is probably the best way to deal with the media juggernaut,” writes Jason Del Gandio in Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century Activists (New Society, 2008). This little black book, packed with straightforward tips for engineering and articulating your message, is an important addition to any media-relations arsenal. Del Gandio, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, acknowledges that the media often misrepresent or altogether exclude radical issues, but he calls on activists to rise to the occasion: “Newspapers, magazines, journals, and radio and television shows prefer articulate, charismatic activists who speak and write well. This is because good communicators are able to clearly explain the purposes and motivations of their politics and actions.”