This is a description of what WindFire Coven does to attract
positive media coverage:
During the latest period of Satanism hysteria the energies were
flowing in a negative direction as far as Wicca is concerned. The media
loves controversy and knows that to have controversy they must present
more than one side of any given issue. Consequently when planning some
report that may be negative in context they will go out of their way to
present another view of that same issue.
This, of course, is reactive not pro-active in nature. This is how
WindFire got the media exposure the last two times. I'll start with the
Denver channel first.
It was a few weeks after File 18 was given to each member of
WindFire that we dedicated a full moon ritual for magickal work toward a
solution. WindFire is not structured so every member got to focus
their power in their own way toward the solution. The solution was to
promote a positive understanding of Wicca in the local mundane
The very next day, not 24 hours after the ritual, we got a call
from channel 7, Denver. They were in the Springs and wanted to talk to
some witches about ley lines and power spots. The two person crew was
at Celebration Book Store but the attendant didn't want to be on
camera. Fortunately the store attendant had our number and called us.
We talked with the camera crew and arranged an immediate interview.
Two considerations are important here. The first is that just like
any other form of magickal work the magick takes it's own form. So be
ready for anything. And two, when the media calls they usually will not
wait around for interviewees. Be prepared for anything, at any moment.
When the lightning strikes...
Channel 7 told us that they were doing the interview to balance out
some of the reporting on Satanism, but they didn't stress the fact that
the report was about Satanism. Further we didn't know enough to ask
what the focus and content was for the report. Always ask what the
focus of the report is. You may find yourself, just like WindFire,
shocked that we are being visually, if not verbally, associated with
For the interview, be positive. I can't stress that enough. Smile
and let them see that you are sincere in your faith in the Goddess.
Laugh. All the reporters see in Satanism is somber faces, confessing
their sins. Let them know that you are happy with your path. Stress the
difference between patriarchal monotheism and pre-Christian, pre-Hebrew
Goddess religion. Have your resources ready for the reporter to look
at if they need a quote for something. Trot out your tools and
instruments if you feel comfortable with that. They love to see the
various tools. You don't have to show them all or any of your tools but
it sure helps them get a picture of what is going on.
The media people like robes so wear your best. Covert groups that
have fears about discovery of illegal activities will not don their
robes or show their tools. By doing so you show that you are not
aligned with covert, illegal, fearful groups. And by disassociation you
show that you are doing nothing illegal or dangerous.
There are three parts of the interview: the preview, the personal
interviews and the ritual. In some or perhaps most cases, the ritual
can be left out. [Please note that these terms are descriptive of their
function, not their technical names. The reporters may have a different
technical name for them.]
The preview is a time for the reporter to get to know the members
of the group, circle or coven. They will talk to you for a period of
time. For WindFire that was about an hour for each camera crew. Please
remember to be civil as a group and not blurt things out all at once.
Believe me it's hard not to do that in the excitement. During the
preview the reporter will select who they want to interview.
Personal interviews last about 10 minutes. The reporter will
generally select different questions for each interviewee. Be prepared
for some hard and personal questions. At the end of the personal
interview the reporter will sometimes ask if you have anything
particular to say to the public. Please don't waste this opportunity.
Have a personal message ready for the public.
The ritual can be anything you feel comfortable with. We generally
choose a related focus such as increasing understanding in the mundane
public. The camera crews seem to like this. Be patient, they may want
you to duplicate some particular action for different camera angle.
Accommodate them when you can. We got through a partial ritual before
the second camera crew ran out of tape. Don't forget to complete the
ritual before them before you let them leave. Be complete.
Remember that there are generally two people in a camera crew, the
reporter and the camera operator. When the reporter is previewing the
coven have another witch talk to the camera operator, telling them what
the tools are for and what incenses and crystals are used. Be discrete
but talk to each and every camera crew member because they all have
input into the editing of the tape. If the reporter has a good feeling
about the coven but the camera person thinks you stink you may have
visual problems later. Make sure each and every camera crew member goes
away with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Offer them refreshments. They will generally refuse alcohol but
water, sodas, coffee and fruit juices are welcomed. Help the crew as
much as they will let you. If they need cables or furniture moved, do
Now for Channel 13 in Colorado Springs. This reporter was doing a
report on Satanism alone. Unfortunately the ONLY resource she had was
James McCarthy in Boulder. The reporter used the "S" word, the "W" word
and the "P" word all in the same sentence without differentiating
between the three. Admittedly the context of the sentence was ritual.
Still no differentiation was made. We started a telephone campaign and
had about 15 people call the newsroom at the station and complain.
Here it is especially good to not bitch unless you have a solution.
If you complain to a reporter do not leave them hanging with no way to
clean up the mess. Talk to them, give them your phone number so they
can call you back later. They are busy people. Try to make sure they
can successfully reach you, not your children, not your message
machine, not your dog. If you give them your number and they don't call
you back, call them. Find out what the problem is.
During the phone campaign we left the reporter numerous ways to
contact us. She did and we scheduled a time for the interviews. We
scheduled it for our regular weekly meeting time so that all the
members could be there and a generic ritual could be filmed. Members
who didn't want to be on film were situated so that their faces were
not on camera. The camera crew will do this for you. They don't want to
inadvertently expose unwilling and innocent people to possible
On the appointed day the camera crew showed up fashionably late.
We went through our usually horror story about being butchered by the
media in the past and they (both crews) were sympathetic to our
concerns. Don't be afraid to stress how badly the media has treated
witches, but don't bore them; everyone has a story to tell but boredom
is out these days.
Let them see a generic ritual with a generic focus. The immediate
focus was understanding in the local community. That works well so you
might want to try that with your group or coven. It impresses the
camera crew so that they will be a little more interested.
Proactive means acting before something happens and puts you in
reactive response mode.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to put together a packet that you
can send to your local media: Tv. stations, radio stations, and
newspapers, which also include your local neighborhood weeklies if
you're brave enough.
Send a well put together packet to these medias and be sure they
can get in touch with you on a few days notice. You might have more
than one contact for your group, circle or coven. WindFire has three or
I suggest for this packet that you include three or four brief
statements from willing coven members, a longer essay on Wicca with
resources, the New Woman article, some artwork and poetry. Include also
a reading list of your favorite Wiccan authors. Be sure to include
names and numbers to call back. While the reporters won't read
everything they will probably read the brief statements from your coven
members and look at the reading list. You might suggest book stores the
reporters can find the reading list books at.
The main time of the year for reactive procedures is Halloween.
Funnymentalist just love to hammer us during Samhain. So be proactive
and let the media know how you view Samhain. Send the media an article
about Samhain about two weeks before. Let them know that there are
other views and that the funnymentalist are slandering a perfectly good
In fact you could emphasize any holiday/s that seems appropriate
for your area or group. Include your resources and/or xerox copies of
other articles you may find, with copyright if needed, on any holiday
you deem appropriate.
Reactive Response Summary
Be prepared to act at any moment if they should call you. Be
positive, smile and laugh a lot. Talk to all the camera crew members.
Let them know your concerns, stress the problems of the past but don't
offend the media people. Make it a magickal time for all the people
involved including the camera crews. Remember to augment your mundane
activity (interviews) before hand with magickal work.
Proactive Encounter Summary
Prepare a good information packet. Sound like you know what you are
talking about. Don't be mousey. Be aggressive and call them if you feel
the need. Make sure they can return a call to you successfully. If you
get an interview be positive and firm. Media people are strong people,
they like other strong people. Be prepared to act at any moment when
they call you. Devote some personal and collective magickal time for
magickal work to attract positive media attention.
I'm sure that you will be challenged by the opportunities your
magick will bring you. The Goddess will bring your efforts to full
fruit if you are ready to support Her when the time comes. It's not an
overused saying to state that we should be prepared for the effects of
our own magick.
AN UPDATE OF IMMEDIATE CONCERN
Just before Halloween Channels 5/30 in Colorado Springs interviewed
WindFire Coven in the pro-active mode. The reporter was concerned that
her boss wanted a sensationalized segment on witches to go with
segments on Satanism and various local New Age groups and psychics. She
told us that she would try to talk her boss out of sensationalizing
the segment. No guarantees were given and we accepted her word that she
would try her best to represent us fairly. WindFire Coven was filmed
for four or five hours for the 3 minute segment and some promotional
Some problems arose in the promotionals and broadcast that we
In the promotionals various members were visually associated with
Satanism by default, that is, Wiccans and Satanists were shown together
in the same promo without distinction. This caused quite a lot of
concern when clients and associates of those involved either refused to
speak to the involved or blamed them for some unspecified hardship in
their lives. To complicate the matter one members face was overdubbed
with a hags cackling. This hurt the member greatly as she is nothing
like the voice indicated.
MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PROMO IS YOUR OWN WITH NO VISUAL ASSOCIATION TO
ANY OTHER SEGMENT WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND PERMISSION. MAKE SURE THAT
YOUR MEMBERS FACES AND VOICES REMAIN INTACT THROUGH THE PROMO AND
BROADCAST. GET IT IN WRITING UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO SEE THIS HAPPEN
TO YOUR COVEN. REFUSE THE INTERVIEW IF NECESSARY.
During the broadcast and promos various tools, icons and artifacts,
including a piece of copyrighted artwork, were used in others segments
without our permission.
MAKE SURE THAT YOUR TOOLS, ICONS, ARTIFACTS AND ARTWORK ARE NOT
USED IN ANOTHER CONTEXT WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND PERMISSION. GET IT
IN WRITING UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO SEE YOUR TOOLS, ICONS, ARTIFACTS
AND ARTWORK PROFANED BY USE IN AN INAPPROPRIATE CONTEXT.
Another problem arose when the editors inserted a Christian into
our segment who said that Wicca was inappropriate because it is not
Christian. When asked why such was done the reporter replied that it
is good journalistic practice to offer two sides of an issue. WindFire
Coven feels that should a contemporary religion be represented, such as
the Jewish or the Mormon faith, the station would not be as quick to put
in dissenting views. We feel that Channels 5/30 leaned toward promoting
the stereotypical image of witches by having a Christian define what we
are and are not. Such cannot be allowed to continue any longer.
MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SEGMENT IS YOURS AND YOURS ALONE. DO NOT ALLOW
THE EDITORS TO INSERT DISSENTING VIEWS IN YOUR SEGMENT. DISSENTING
VIEWS CAN BE PRESENTED IN ANOTHER SEGMENT DEDICATED ENTIRELY FOR
DISCUSSION OF DIFFERENCES. MAKE SURE THAT WICCA IS REPRESENTED BY
WICCANS, NOT BY CHRISTIANS, NOT BY NEW AGERS, NOT BY LOCAL PSYCHICS.
TAKE CONTROL OF THE INTERVIEW BEFORE IT TAKES CONTROL OF YOUR COVEN.
Copyright (c) Ammond Shadowcraft Oct. 1988
This is an sample form to be used when reporters come to your home
to interview your circle or coven.
WRITTEN AGREEMENTS AND GUARANTEES FOR INTERVIEW WITH WINDFIRE COVEN
Note: For the purpose of this Agreement WindFire Coven is termed
the Interviewee and ______________________ is termed the Interviewer.
The Interviewee agrees to accept reporters from the Interviewer
into their homes and/or sacred space to witness and report seasonal
and/or generic rituals, to photograph and film tools, icons, artifacts,
artwork, poetry and songs, to interview the Coven and individual
members, for a period not to exceed 24 hours, providing that the
following agreements are made:
The Interviewer will employ the usable or airable video footage
filmed, photographs and/or recordings of/during this interview for any
segment and/or report as a singular complete segment and/or report and
in such a way as to retain the original context and atmosphere intended
by the Interviewee. No other individuals, religious faiths and/or
religious groups will be included in this segment/report without the
express permission of the Interviewee.
The Interviewer will employ the usable or airable video footage
filmed, photographs and/or recordings of/during this interview for any
promotion as a singular complete promotion and in such a way as to
retain the original context and atmosphere intended by the Interviewee.
No other individuals, religious faiths and/or religious groups will be
included in this promotion without the express permission of the
The Interviewer will treat all persons, tools, icons, artifacts,
artwork, poetry and music filmed, photographed or recorded as integral
parts of the interview and will not use any cassette, video or
photographic representations of these persons/items in any other
context or external segment, report or promotion without the express
permission of the Interviewee.
For WINDFIRE COVEN (Interviewee)
For __________________________________ (Interviewer)