June 9th, 2013. More than a thousand people spent the whole day cleaning up mount Vesuvius, and raising tons of garbage illegally dumped in that area, which is a national park. Let’s Do It! Vesuvius, probably one of the biggest clean-up events ever realized in Italy by young volunteers with no membership in any association, was taking place. It was a symbolic revolution: for years, mount Vesuvius had been known worldwide as the background for most pictures of Naples’ trash crisis. Now, it was the place where a new environmental culture, and awareness, was bearing fruit. Several associations, local institutions, civic movements, and sensible citizens joined the volunteers, contributing to the success of the project.
Local and national media, and some newspapers abroad, covered the event, as they did with the initiatives implemented in the previous months. The event reached national press agencies and radio station, ...view middle of the document...
I decided to deal with journalists, since this is my job, under one condition: having carte blanche and being involved in any “communicative” decision. The first step was the creation of a recognizable identity and brand, conveyed via our website, logo, headed paper, t-shirts etc. In the meanwhile, we started building a network of journalists interested in the project, the movement and the issues we dealt with: a long but fruitful work. Step by step we gained credit as a serious and authoritative voice and source for journalists. The media strategy was integrated into a much wider communication strategy: public events in libraries, schools and squares; several clean-up events; social media campaigns; training and workshops for volunteers, institutional relations and so on.
Week by week, we could notice the positive consequences of our work. The communication campaign was crucial to the project’s success: the more the media talked about us, the more volunteers, movements, and institutions trusted us and got involved. If at first we had great troubles in contacting journalists and other subjects, we ended up having problems in dealing with the requests for information and interviews by journalists and participation by other subjects.
I am really proud of what I have done for Let’s Do It! Vesuvius, since I feel that my contribution was decisive to the event’s success. At first, nobody knew me and I could notice that the other volunteers were skeptical about my requests and work. Yet, I gradually gained their trust, and this confidence-building process is one of the most important and satisfying aspect of that experience for me.
In those months, we demonstrated that a small group of people can change the reality for the better. We woke up our communities, transforming skepticism and delusion in trust and hope, thus triggering new energies and activism: the following, and upcoming, environmental initiatives show that this is a long-lasting result. Probably for the first time, I had the sheer feeling that I was able to make the difference both in my community and in my work.