[OSM-talk] Press contacts
richard at systemeD.net
Sun Aug 12 22:22:18 BST 2007
> Following-on from a dicussion at OSM party, and perhaps of interest
> to our new
> press officer...
You bet. :)
All really interesting stuff - filed for proper consideration. Press
releases, dedicated contact points, a press section etc. are kind of
Media Relations 101 and obviously something I'll need to set about as
a first step (we have, of course, got some way there already).
A few additional points which I think are important.
- What do we want our media coverage to _achieve_? To my mind there
are two aims right now: more contributors; and mindshare (or as you
say, "background awareness") to encourage that more widely. We don't
want, yet, to promote OSM as an alternative mainstream mapping portal
for all purposes - to do so would be counter-productive. (Though we
may be able to do this in local areas where we have excellent coverage.)
- The "press" is, of course, now much wider than simply printed/
televisual media. A lot of the publicity we need will come through
campaigns on influential technology sites, blogs, etc. Steve
Chilton's excellent work in promoting SOTM to bloggers is a great
case in point.
- The less glamorous parts of the media (local papers, specialist
magazines, etc.) are often better places to get useful publicity. A
two-sentence mention in the Times is hard to achieve: a longer story
in (say) the Railway Magazine about enthusiasts mapping Britain's
railways is much easier: but the latter will get more contributors
and more data for OSM, no question.
- Partnerships are absolutely vital. A joint Yahoo/OSM press release
about the satellite imagery would have so much more impact than an
OSM-alone one. Same goes for AND/OSM, and so on.
- There is nothing wrong with artificially generating a story,
especially at this "silly season" time of year. Anyone who reads geo
blogs will have seen the story placed by a UK insurance company
recently about how people can't read maps (see, for example, http://
www.edparsons.com/). Actually the story was complete crap: it was
more "people don't instantly recognise a bunch of badly redrawn
symbols from OS 1:50,000 mapping when out of context". But the
coverage it got was immense. We can do that, and hopefully with a
less rubbish story. :)
- But we have to be careful in what we wish for. A Slashdot frontpage
story is very possible, for example, but site capacity would get
utterly slashdotted, and the vandalism would take days to repair
without proper tools. I don't hold with the adage that all publicity
is good publicity!
It's going to be fun. :)
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