Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In the Media

One of the things I love about my job is that I always have a variety of things to do. When I crave interpersonal contact, I have things I do to reach out with a variety of people. When I just want to be left alone, I can put on my iPod and work on the website. When I want to have a little fun, I can log into Facebook and MySpace and update our pages while I'm also updating my personal status. Most people aren't so lucky, and I know it. For whatever reason, lately it has seemed that I've been spending about 50% of my time working on our website (so if you haven't checked it out lately, please do and let me know what you think - I'm always looking for feedback, even if it's just about a small spelling error). I've gotten things updated enough that I'm not so much making the information current to this year, but I'm actually out looking for new ways to update things, like linking to recent news pieces on our events, blog postings about us, etc. This means I'm learning more about how media works, some of which is interesting and some of which is super frustrating.

When I used to work at Midwest City 911, I would often get phone calls from the local media who had been listening to their scanners and called looking for information about something they heard. "Hi, this is channel XX news - what was the address on that fire you just went to?" We didn't have to do anything to attract their attention - they were usually contacting us before we had anything to give them. Now that I work for Habitat KC, it's a whole new ball game. We put out press releases on almost all the events that we have - from big public events to house blessings at the end of each build project - and it's a rare occurrence when one of the local KC channels will contact us looking for more information, let alone show up at the event. There are a variety of reasons that this might happen - (1) we might give all the information they need in the press release and so they don't need to call; (2) Kansas City is a larger metro region and they don't generally need to find more news stories to fill up the paper or newscast time; (3) Habitat isn't sensational enough to catch people's attention like a house fire or police chase would.
I know all of this, just as I also know that even when you see a news story on tv, you're often not getting the whole story, but the piece that the particular reporter or producer thought was interesting enough. There are all kinds of things about the process that are personal, political, etc. but like it or not, withouth the media, we don't get the information out to enough people, so we do what we can to work with it.

That being said, I just wanted to give a shout out to a few pieces that have been done on us lately in Kansas City and say thank you for giving us the time, space, etc. to get our word out.
  • Channel 41 news posted this piece on their website. I don't know if it was also mentioned in the news cast that night, and most of this article is direct from our press release but it's nice to have the mention.
  • Bill Tammeus, who used to write for the KC Star newspaper, mentioned our latest project in his blog. While not published in print, his blog has lots of local followers and he is well respected which helps us greatly.
  • KMBC Channel 9 news did a whole story on our upcoming Women Build project (including video online). Lara Moritz, one of their main anchors, has agreed to be our spokesperson for the project since it has a focus on breast cancer awareness (her mom died from breast cancer) and we look forward to future pieces with her.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to keep up with all of these things and remain vigilant about linking to them from our website!

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