Contact October 2011
Vol 9, No 10
IN THIS EDITION:
The ARRL Public Relations Committee will host a very special national webinar on Nov 3rd at 9pm Eastern time.
We all know that our emergency operations are the biggest media draw for Amateur Radio. But just what do the media folks want and how do they want it? Our special guests, Howard Price, KA2QPJ, from ABC-TV in New York and Mark Kraham, W8CMK, from the Radio and Television Digital News Association will answer that question – and then we will look at how we can best meet those needs.
Mark it on your calendar now! Complete information on how you can log into the Webinar will be coming out as the date gets closer.
With well over 100 graduates of the PR-101 course, the question comes – what’s next? FEMA has a good public information course freely available at :http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/PublicInformation.shtm
There’s also a lot of tips you can pick up from the Internet. Here’s one that Sherri Brower, W4STB, spotted:
“One of the most frequent comments I hear about pitching stories is that journalists and producers don't return phone calls. One year, at our National Publicity Summit, I asked our all-star media panel about that. The answer was simple: leave your name and phone number at the beginning and the end of the voice mail. Think about it. If you have to replay an entire message to get someone's phone number, you might very well decide to do it later and go on to the next message... and then forget to do it later. Leaving your phone number two times can help you get that one return phone call.” - Steve Harrison
Joan Stewart’s blog is one of the best sources of practical PR information we’ve seen. Here are two samples:
“9 ways to sneak your website address into media stories”
“13 press release topics when there’s nothing newsworthy”
Mark G Ewell, KC5IZN, spotted this course on Effective Communication that is good for many activities, not just PIOs. http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is242a.asp
Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, wrote in that “Since many of us may serve along side Military Public Affairs, http://www.asaie.army.mil/Public/IE/Toolbox/documents/r360_1.pdf gives
you the guidance that the United States Army provides their folks.”
We see some excellent press releases, and we see some really horrible ones. But what is considered the BEST press release ever written? The following text is considered (by at least one professional) to be the winner.
The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written
PR Professional Distributes Groundbreaking Press Release
CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mitch Delaplane of PitchPoint Public Relations has issued the most amazing press release ever written. While hundreds of press releases are distributed daily, Delaplane feels this particular release will go down in history as the most amazing press release that has ever been written.
"I've been in the business for over ten years and have to say, I'm speechless," claims Delaplane. "The title alone grabs you and demands that it be read. Then there's this quote that completely takes things to an entirely new level. I'm proud of this press release. In fact, I think it is [really] amazing."
Typically reserved for company news announcements and other public relations communications, the press release has long been the favored default for informing media about exciting, groundbreaking news. Then this news release comes along and changes everything people thought they knew about press releases.
"I'm quoting myself again because the first quote didn't do it justice," says Delaplane. "If you're still reading this news release, then you know what I'm talking about when I say it's something special. In fact, it's 483 words of pure awesomeness. When it crosses the wires, I believe history will have been made."
The science behind this Earth-shattering news release lies in its simplicity - no science, just pure old press release craftsmanship. It started with an incredible brainstorming session that asked a very simple question: "what makes a press release amazing?" Elaborate notes from that brainstorm were then formulated into mesmerizing sentences, paragraphs and pages...all expertly designed to make you pause and reflect at the brilliance of this press release.
Every single word of this news release was track changed, stetted, then track changed again to its original draft. Upon final approval, it was spell checked, fact checked and printed for posterity. The result is a two-page, 1.5-spaced news release that is like no other news release in existence.
You can contact Mitch at email@example.com
If you disagree, issue your own press release and prepare for war.
If your locality has a S.E.T. drill coming up in the next few weeks, and you need some help...
Here’s a template you can use to create a press release for your own area. Just fill in the blanks and then get it to your local papers, TV and radio stations.
“Hams” Test Emergency Communications in ___my town/area_
My Town, St Date 2008 – The backup emergency communication skills of area Amateur Radio operators, often called “hams,” are being tested in _____your town___on __date__ as ___town’s___ Amateur Radio operators conduct their annual Simulated Emergency Test.
This year the __town/area__ Amateur Radio operators will be replicating ____scenario for your SET______________________________________________. The hams have the slogan, “When all else fails – Amateur Radio!” According to __spokesperson__, “The hams of ___town/area___ take that quite seriously.”
Using emergency powered radios and working with local agencies, the hams will have only a few hours to create extensive radio communications networks which can be used should there be a failure or overload of normal services. The hams’ ability to get back “on the air” quickly is a critical following major incidents. In addition, the ham radio operators provide “interoperability” – they can pass information between the many government and volunteer agencies which are needed in disasters but often have incompatible communication systems.
Amateur Radio volunteer operators around the country respond to many calls for aid each year. They provide their services and equipment freely to their communities, saving both lives and thousands of dollars for neighbors. They are “Amateurs” only in that they are not paid, but their service in a disaster can be priceless. As FEMA Director Craig Fugate remarked, “When you need them, you really need them!”
Despite the Internet and cell phones, interest in ham radio is growing rapidly in the US. There are now 700,000 FCC Amateur Radio licensees in the USA and over 2.5 million worldwide. They are able to get and transmit information, both locally and world-wide, without depending on other systems. During Hurricane Irene, the hams were critical in providing immediate, ground-level reports to the National Weather Service. After the storm, hams continued to provide help in the many flooded communities and areas that lost electric power.
What do Amateur Radio operators do during and after disasters?
Amateur Radio operators set up and operate organized communication networks locally for governmental and emergency officials, as well as non-commercial communication for private citizens affected by the disaster. Amateur Radio operators are most likely to be active after disasters that damage regular lines of communications due to power outages and destruction of telephone lines.
How do Amateur Radio operators help local officials?
Many radio amateurs are active as communications volunteers with local public safety organizations. In addition, in some disasters, radio frequencies are not coordinated among relief officials and Amateur Radio operators step in to coordinate communication when radio towers and other elements in the communications infrastructure are damaged.
What are the major Amateur Radio emergency organizations?
Amateur Radio operators have informal and formal groups to coordinate communication during emergencies. At the local level, hams work with local emergency organizations and can create area-wide networks of wireless communication called “nets.” At the state level, hams are often involved with state emergency management operations. In large events, hams operate at the national level through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) which is coordinated by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and its field volunteers. In addition, in areas that are prone to severe weather, many hams are involved in Skywarn® spotting with the National Weather Service.
Is Amateur Radio recognized as a resource by national relief organizations?
Many national organizations have formal agreements with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and other Amateur Radio groups including:
• Department of Homeland Security - Citizen Corps
• Federal Emergency Management Agency
• National Communications System
• American Red Cross
• The Salvation Army
• National Weather Service
• Association of Public Safety Communications Officials
To Learn More:
The best way to learn about Amateur Radio is talking to hams face-to-face. To find out how to get started and who to contact in your area, call or write:
The American Radio Relay League, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111
Telephone 1-800-32 NEW-HAM www.Emergency-Radio.org
The BILL LEONARD, W2SKE, PROFESSIONAL MEDIA AWARD
Did you spot a good, ham radio Media Hit in the newspaper? Maybe it was on TV or on the radio. Perhaps it was even on one of the commercial Internet websites. Amateur Radio has been promoted in all of these ways in 2011 thanks to clubs, individuals and national press releases. Now it is time to say “Thank You!” to the professional media people and reporters who made it happen. The way to do that is to nominate them for the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award.
This is a national level, annual award that honors three professional journalists whose outstanding work in audio, video and print formats best reflect the enjoyment, importance and public service value of the Amateur Radio Service.
The Award is divided into three categories, each with its own award
a. Audio formats
b. Visual formats
c. Print and Text formats
The award is sponsored by the ARRL – the national association for Amateur Radio. Nominations are judged by members of the ARRL national PR Committee, and the final decision is made by the ARRL Board of Directors at their meeting in January 2012. The winners each receive an engraved plaque and a donation of $250 will be made in each of their names to the charity of their choice. The deadline for receiving nominations is 5pm on December 9, 2011.
The award was created as a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE, an avid Amateur Radio operator. Full information, rules and entry forms are at http://www.arrl.org/bill-leonard-award . Recipients must be professional journalists in print, electronic media or multimedia. The term "professional" refers to full time, part time, stringers, freelancers and contract journalists. In the case of a group project, the recipient may be the group, but only one prize will be awarded. We’re looking for media pieces that are truthful, clear and accurate, and reflect high journalistic standards. The award will be granted to the works deemed the best reflection of the enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio.
If your group got a good news hit or article, what better way to respond than to nominate the person who publicized it? Media professionals can submit their own work, but it is best when hams themselves show their thanks, action and consideration. Amateur Radio emergency services, educational stories, space stories and ham technology – all of these topics could be winners. If a reporter covered your activity well, nominate them!
Submit CD with audio file(s) in mp3 format with name of candidate written on each disk.
Submit CD with mp4 file or DVD of the work with name of candidate written on each disk.
Submit clear, easily readable copy of printed text, any related Web addresses, and 8.5x11 sheets displaying the writing in situ as it appeared to the public. (Photocopies are fine)
All entry forms and supporting disks and documentation must be received by
5pm on December 9, 2011.
Mail the packets to:
Manager of Media Relations
American Radio Relay League
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111
Each of the award winners will receive a plaque and a donation in their name of $250 will go to a recognized non-profit organization of the recipient’s choosing.
For more information about the award, full rules and to obtain a nomination form, go to http://www.arrl.org/bill-leonard-award
Or contact ARRL's Media & Public Relations Department, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-594-0328.
What’s happening? Many times only a few people know. In these days of Web stories, television and radio hits, keeping track of who accomplished what with media can be difficult. We’ve seen several examples where club spokespeople and PIO’s were quoted or interviewed and even their own section managers did not know about it.
Most field appointments have a regular reporting function. Emergency Coordinators send reports to DEC’s who summarize them and pass the information on to the SEC. Other positions have similar reporting arrangements.
The Public Relations Committee is looking into having PIO’s reporting to the section PIC on a monthly or quarterly basis. The PIC, in turn, summarizes the information and gets it to their Section Manager with a copy to ARRL HQ. To keep it simple, the committee is working on a basic form that can be used.
We know that there are sections that simply will not do this. There are also sections that are so small they don’t need to do this. But for those sections that have multiple areas, clubs, economic and media regions, this could be a big help if supported by the SM and the PIO volunteers.
For now, we’re all in the “thinking about it” stage and encourage discussion on this topic.
Hans Zimmermann F5VKP and F/HB9AQS, the IARU International Coordinator for Emergency Communications sent the following information about an EMCOM component of this year’s JOTA event:
Within this year's JOTA, an emergency communications exercise will take place on Saturday, 15 October in the afternoon (European time zone). This simulated emergency test will include the Headquarters station, HB9S, of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), which will be operated by hams from 5 different countries.
WOSM has now published the details for the event on its web site:
with numerous links to related documents of IARU and other sources.
This year's JOTA theme offers an excellent opportunity to raise the awareness for the role of the Amateur Radio Service in disaster situations.
This JOTA press Guide was created to help PIOs with press contacts before, during and after the JOTA event. But it is more than that. It has many helpful hints for writing articles for your local newspaper or speaking with the media.
Click here to download the guide,
Other JOTA websites are:
Here it is the end of September and (fingers crossed) it looks like we made it through another year without a really major hurricane hit. Irene was bad enough if you got flooded out or lost power for days – but it was no Katrina. Still, the reality is that our luck cannot hold out forever and, as more and more development creeps right up to the waterlines, it will get really ugly when it comes. But the good news is that we made it this year, we hope.
More good news comes from what we hope is the return of the sun. In the past week I have gotten reports of good DX even on 10m, which has been pretty dead for years. I myself got a new country on 15m – the first new one in 5 years! (But then I have a lot of them already.) Maybe, just maybe, the propagation that we recall from what seems so long ago will return. If so, all these new hams (and new reporters) are in for a real treat when they see the full magic and majesty of HF.
Get going on nominations for the Bill Leonard Award. It’s wide open this year and I know of many good candidates that should be nominated!
I am also excited about the Public Relations Committee’s webinar on Nov. 3rd. This is a new venture for them and they have two major media players invited.
Other opportunities coming fast are the S.E.T. drills and JOTA, so there’s plenty to do in October.
de Allen, W1AGP