As we hit 2013, I want to get a few things off my chest with my quasi-annual "Good Riddance" column. Here's a not-so-nice list of a few things I'd like to see change for the better in the Savannah media/culture/politics scene with the new year.
• Get it together, PR people. Just. Get. It. Together: We receive lots of press releases at Connect Savannah, some great, some mediocre. Great and mediocre will do just fine. But too many are just awful and do nothing but hurt the organizations and causes they purport to be publicizing.
One day I received a press release with no dates or times for the event. A few hours later I got a press release with no location!
It isn't that hard, people: Who, what, when, where. Details. There's literally no way to be too specific. And always include a street address, every single time.
• Embargoes: Speaking of PR, let's talk about "embargoes." That means an informal agreement by all parties not to publicize something until a certain date and/or time.
PR folks, an embargo does not mean an "arrangement" with another media outlet to go with the info before everyone else, or that you'll go live with the info on your own website before the embargo and still expect everyone else to stay silent.
That's called "burning your bridges and making sure no one respects your request for an embargo ever again for the rest of your hopefully brief career in marketing."
• Farm-to-Table? How ‘bout Serve-the-Table? I get it. Every restaurant now from the upper-end seafood place to the food court at the mall claims to be "farm to table."
That's great! So now can we please bring some quality service to the table, too? It does no good to serve good, or even passable, food at inflated tourist prices when the person sniffling, twirling their hair, and sloooooowly bringing it to your table wouldn't pass muster at a Carey Hilliard's.
I'm happy for the increased attention and revenue going to local farmers. If anyone deserves it, they do. But if farm-to-table was all I was interested in, I'd just get my ingredients at the Forsyth Farmers Market or Savannah Food Co-op and cook them myself, as I find myself doing more and more these days. Service still counts!
• Sacred Cows: As one of the world's foremost purveyors of Southern hospitality and style, Savannah also has an intrinsic fondness for sacred cows, those taboos we just aren't supposed to discuss in public, or else.... or else what, exactly?
I think 2013 should be the year these sacred cows are - not to put too fine a point on it - slaughtered, cooked, and consumed with great satisfaction.
Tradition is great, but taboos are unhealthy. It's long past time for us to fully debate issues like the environment (i.e., so much furor over the Ogeechee but nowhere near as much about the Savannah River and our water supply), racial divides (slowly but surely getting better in the Mayor Jackson era), gun violence (the City needs to push back much harder, and yes that will require butting heads with the state), and just what we really want and need the tourist industry here to look and feel like.