Orla MacMahon

The Young Greens found me at a point where, like countless young people, I felt entirely disenfranchised by the traditional left’s hesitance in addressing the social and environmental justice issues that will always be my priority. With actively hopeful, progressive policies and a youth wing that is mobilised and accessible, we are perfectly placed to fill this gap where young people are naturally falling. I am standing as press officer to ensure that the Young Greens’ public face is credible and engaging; a fitting representation of our movement.

Through the Youth Strike for Climate movement I came to understand the power of using press to convey your message clearly, so that your intentions are heard regardless of the wider conversation. I wrote press releases, maintained contacts with local and national media teams, co-ordinated press schedules on strike days and trained young activists to be competent spokespeople during interviews. There is certainly appetite for progressive views when they are presented with conviction and clear calls to action, and I hope to use the skills I learned through that movement to present Young Green values to a wider audience.

A proactive approach to press opportunities

We have had well-deserved successes at recent elections, challenging the position of the UK’s third party, yet the media has not kept up. Green voices are underrepresented and our presence in the mainstream media does not reflect our electoral success. I hope to take a proactive approach to the role of press officer, working to generate excitement around our movement through new and digital media platforms to give more Young Greens the opportunity to speak on the things that matter to them. I would maintain close working relationships with regional Young Greens groups to ensure local news outlets and student journalism platforms are being used to their full potential to promote our movement across the country.

Consistent, engaging messaging

As press officer, I would ensure the views of Young Greens were consistently represented in press releases and statements with credibility. I would work closely with the elected social media officer to align our social and traditional media strategies and ensure our output remains engaging and accessible. Where relevant, I would use spokespeople with key knowledge and experience to represent us in media opportunities as well-informed, impassioned young people.

Reach beyond the Green bubble

It is so important that our press work resonates with our existing activist and student network, yet I know we can do more to reach beyond this, to young people who are distanced from the Green movement. It is our responsibility to communicate with people who aren’t yet on side, to explain the universal benefits of Green policies and be non-judgemental of their reception. My ambition as press officer is to reach beyond our comfort zone of left-wing media and elevate Young Green perspectives into wider conversations, hopefully encouraging politically homeless young people to engage with our causes.

I ask for your vote for press officer, to enable us to present ourselves as the engaging and credible youth movement that we are. As a member of the executive committee, I would push us to lead in social justice conversations rather than react to them, and crucially use the talent within our networks to meet more Young People where they are and bring them with us. I encourage anyone to reach out to me on Twitter (@orlamacmahon) if you’d like to talk more about my campaign or plans as press officer.

This article is part of a series from candidates standing in this year’s elections to the Young Greens of England and Wales Executive Committee. You can find all the articles in the series here. Voting is open in the Young Greens elections from July 3 to July 18. 

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