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Writer Anna Lenzer has brought it to my attention that the subject of her recent Mother Jones expose, Fiji Water, is looking for social media help. And that’s not surprising, considering the thousands of anti-Fiji Water tweets and Facebook comments piled up after the Mother Jones article was published. As Lenzer revealed in the story, Fiji Water is produced in a country ruled by a military junta and despite its green image, its signature bottles uses twice as much plastic as competitors’.

To combat the negative publicity, Fiji Water first tried issuing a statement against the article. Then we posted a rebuttal. The co-owner of the company made libelous comments about the article on Twitter, and Fiji Water’s go-to press rep, Rob Six, posted comments on blogs and newspaper sites. Presumably not seeing much payoff, Fiji Water went with a softer tactic: contests with prizes and feel-good stories about the company’s charitable works.

The company has another Twitter strategy, though: bribery. According to multiple users, @FijiWater contacts those who have tweeted positively about the company and offered them free water. Or, if they’re less lucky, a coupon code or a beach towel. In its desperate bid (or so it seems) to get followers, @FijiWater writes back to just about anybody who tweets nicely about it. Judging by the job listing, even with the swag, it’s still not working as well as they’d like.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

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