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 communities.
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. Fortunately the store attendant had our number and
called us. We talked with the camera crew and arranged an
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 Satanism.
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
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 so.
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 harassment.
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
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 four.
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 holiday.
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
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 footage.
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
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
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 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 Interviewee.
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)