It has been three years since my twin brother was arrested by the Russian government as a pawn in their game of hostage diplomacy. I had no idea that, three years later, he would still be there. And it’s not just that. Other American citizens have been wrongfully detained by Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Rwanda and other nations since Paul’s arrest. Which means that other families are going through the same thing as our family. To help them, I wrote an ebook on working with the media. It’s both web content and a downloadable ebook.

It may, in fact, be no help at all. I’m no expert and my experience may be useless to others. One thing I know is that, three years ago, I started learning almost from scratch about how to work with journalists and other media. The added reality is that, when you have a family member taken hostage, you’re not necessarily able to go looking for help before the media finds you. The likelihood of someone in need making their way to the ebook – having a link, doing a web search for “hostage media help” – and being able to use it is minuscule. And yet, if there are other people, other families, who can avoid some of that learning, I hope they can.

About 18 months ago, I started to pull my experiences together. I am perpetually hopeful and figured I would share this ebook as soon as Paul was free. But his freedom may be days or months or years away. Meanwhile, hostage diplomacy seems to be a growing problem, not a one-off. It is not a time to be mean with knowledge sharing, so feel free to use and share this ebook with anyone you think may benefit from it.