Activist and public relations thought leader David Fenton shares lessons on how to organize successful media campaigns, cultivated from more than half a century working within some of history’s most impactful social movements.
In an extraordinary career David Fenton has learned first-hand what to do—and not to do—to propel progressive causes into the public eye and create real, impactful, lasting change.
A visionary activist, Fenton has been the driving force behind some of the most important and history-making campaigns of the last 50 years, from the No-Nukes concerts with Bruce Springsteen in 1979, to the campaigns to free Nelson Mandela and end apartheid in the late 1980s, exposing the dangers of toxic chemicals in our food, the long battle to legalize marijuana and end racist drug laws, the misinformation in Washington during the Bush era in the 2000s, and recent campaigns that successfully banned fracking in New York and alerted the public to the climate crisis, including the environmental impact of Bitcoin.
Reflecting on his life, with tales of living in a commune, photographing riots and rock stars, working at Rolling Stone and High Times magazines rabble-rousing with Abbie Hoffman, and collaborating with presidents and celebrities, David tells the fascinating story of how he developed the strategies and tactics that have made him a successful media agitator. David then shows how these tools can be used by anyone to advance their cause.
Part rollercoaster memoir, part practical guide, The Activist's Media Handbook provides an essential toolkit for today’s activists for organizing to win: how to tell your story, captivate audiences, and inspire them to join the cause.
David Fenton is the founder of Fenton Communications, created to promote issue-oriented public relations campaigns on the environment, public health, and human rights. He also helped create JStreet, Climate Nexus, the Death Penalty Information Center, and Families for a Future.
David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed national bestseller Season of the Witch. He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones magazine and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, and other major publications, and lives in San Francisco, California.
Judy Gumbo is one of the few female members of the original Yippies, a satirical protest group founded in the 1960s that levitated the Pentagon to stop the Vietnam War, brought the New York Stock Exchange to a halt to ridicule greed and ran a pig named Pigasus for President at the 1968 Democratic Convention, resulting in police violence, arrests, and the notorious "Chicago 7" conspiracy trial. As part of her activism, Judy founded a national women's rights organization, helped organize the world's first Earth Day, visited North Vietnam during the war, and travelled the globe agitating against the war and for the liberation of women. Her activism led to unwarranted surveillance by the FBI; she later successfully sued to obtain copies of their extensive records on her. Judy has a Ph.D. in Sociology and spent the majority of her professional career as an award-winning fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.
David Fenton photo courtesy of the author; David Talbot photo courtesy of the author; Judy Gumbo photo courtesy of Gary Goldberg