Messaging and Media Support for the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform 2019
Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
The Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED) and its partners at the Center for American Progress, WEACT for Environmental Justice, Los Jardines, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Justice Health Alliance, League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club engaged Spitfire to build support for and alignment around the historic Equitable and Just National Climate Platform (EJNCP) coalition, namely lifting up environmental justice voices and the platform’s profile. Spitfire quickly became the coalition’s arms and legs, providing rapid-response communications support for a number of high-profile events from the Democratic presidential debate in Houston to the annual coalition meeting and Capitol Hill fly-in in Washington, D.C., to the 2019 Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Spitfire supported the coalition by drafting press releases and op-eds; writing and distributing media advisories for press calls and roundtables; creating digital press kits and social media toolkits; and securing the attention of journalists covering climate and environmental justice (EJ) in outlets such as The Guardian, Grist, NPR, TIME, Mother Jones and Politico.
From the outset of Spitfire’s work with CEED, its partners and the coalition, we deeply immersed ourselves in the EJ movement’s mission and history, connecting and coordinating consistent check-ins with EJ and national green partners alike to provide responsive communications support as needed.
Spitfire was a key coordinating partner, alongside CAP and NRDC, for the 2019 EJNCP Forum in D.C.. Through close contact with EJ and national groups, we helped develop the meeting agenda and planned a reporter roundtable at the Sierra Club where climate journalists could connect directly with EJ leaders and establish relationships. Those relationships would later prove beneficial for amplifying the platform and EJ thought leadership through the media to influence both local climate action and congressional legislation that centers on EJ. Spitfire produced and distributed a digital press kit and press advisory for the media roundtable and worked closely with communications partners at NRDC, CAP and the Sierra Club to secure the attendance of reporters at TIME, E&E News, NPR and Mother Jones who cover climate through the lens of justice. Spitfire also updated messaging for roundtable participants to speak with a powerful, united voice.
Immediately following the successful Capitol Hill events, Spitfire turned toward providing heavy logistical and communications outreach support for the 2019 Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice on Nov. 8, 2019. Spitfire coordinated all media outreach and supported event planning alongside Forum partners — including the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, South Carolina State University, National Wildlife Federation, ReGenesis, Coming Clean — and media partners including Democracy Now!, The Real News Network, Grist, Free Speech TV and Earther/Gizmodo.
The media support that Spitfire provided included updating and distributing the Forum announcement and press release to roughly 100 climate and justice-focused reporters, whom Spitfire identified, as well as conducting direct outreach to specific reporters whose track record on EJ could gain the best coverage. In the rapid-response environment preceding the Forum, Spitfire tracked press RSVPs, sent reminders, and fielded and responded to press and general inquiries. Spitfire also coordinated media and on-site logistics with the presidential campaign offices of Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tom Steyer and Marianne Williamson. Journalists from leading outlets such as The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Fox Business, Politico, Mother Jones, Vox, and local print and broadcast media in South Carolina attended the Forum. Coverage of the Forum, featuring the voices of key EJNCP spokespeople and environmental justice leaders, was published in Politico and PoliticoPro, Grist, Truthout, Earther/Gizmodo, ColorLines, The Times & Democrat and The Guardian.