Here's a little pop quiz to get you in the mood for the upcoming school year:
Question 1: Let's say - totally hypothetically - that you're the organizer of a large, targeted outdoor festival in town with a devoted following. The second largest of its type in Georgia, in fact. Hypothetically.
A) Contact the media, even in the most cursory manner, in such a way that they will have confirmation of when and where your event is taking place and will be able to promote it?
B) Fail to make even the slightest effort to give the media the smallest advance notice - no call, no e-mail, no fax - and assume they will telepathically know everything? And when the Vulcan mind-meld fails, insist the media is discriminating against you?
You answered A? Congratulations, that's the right answer! You probably don't work in local public relations, do you?
You answered B? Congratulations again! You'll always be able to find a job in local PR. Just keep telling yourself that it's the media's job to find everything out on their own with no input from you!
Here's another brain-teaser:
Question 2: Let's say - again totally hypothetically - that you run a community theatre group, the type which often has problems getting paying customers, especially in the current economy. You have a show coming up that you've been rehearsing non-stop for six weeks. You've ignored family, friends, and regular meals in order to get ready for opening night.
A) Take five minutes to send a quick e-mail to the media a couple of weeks before you open to ensure that people in town will know you have a really awesome show?
B) Fail to take any time at all to notify the media in anything close to a timely fashion and then complain that no one in town supports live theatre?
You answered A? Congratulations, that's the right answer! You're new in town, right?
You answered B? Congratulations again! You have lots of company. Just keep repeating: If you build a theatre, they will come!
OK, last one:
Question 3: You're a hardworking starving artist. You have gone your own way, stubbornly refusing to become yet another poser in the bogus local arts establishment. Now you have a totally kickass, groundbreaking exhibit of cutting-edge art set to open, the type that typically appeals to the readership of a certain free local arts and entertainment alt-weekly.
A) Ten or so days before the show, e-mail the editor of the liberal propaganda rag a quick description of your show, complete with date and place, with a sample image attached?
B) Send the editor an invite on Facebook a few hours before the show opens?
You answered A? Congratulations, that's the right answer! Now consider moving to a larger market that shares your serious attitude.
You answered B? Congratulations again! You are not alone. As a still-starving artist, remember that Ramen noodles are very filling and ketchup can qualify as a vegetable!
People... we're here to help. You want us to help you out? Then help us out.
SEND US YOUR STUFF.
Yes, I know you don't need Connect Savannah because you're on Facebook and social networking is the wave of the future and traditional media is dead, yada yada.
So do you have 20,000 Facebook friends? Because that's how many local people read our paper each week, at a bare minimum.
You say Facebook targets your audience better than a newspaper? Fine. So I guess you have 2000 Facebook friends - ten percent of our readership? No?
How about 1000 Facebook friends, five percent of our readership? Still no?
See where I'm going with this?
Every week we have many, many dozens of announcements to compile and publish, sent to us by organizations who thought enough of their efforts to bother to contact us in advance.
Yet every week we miss events because the organizers failed to contact us at all, in any way. But guess what? They will certainly make the time to contact us after the fact - to complain about our lack of coverage!
Is all this an excuse for us not covering events we probably should have known about? No, not at all. There is certainly ample room for improvement on our end.
But the bottom line is: We can't help you if you won't help us.
So meet us halfway. A quarter of the way. Hell, a tenth of the way. We'll do the rest, but it's up to you to take that first step.
My e-mail is email@example.com.
Community Editor Patrick Rodgers, who manages the listings calendar, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Editor Bill DeYoung's e-mail address is email@example.com.
Go ahead. Make our day.
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"And you deserve better."
Thanks, Jim, for my new campaign slogan.