[OSM-talk] Press contacts

Nick Black nickblack1 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 13 09:39:49 BST 2007

On 8/12/07, OJW <streetmap at blibbleblobble.co.uk> wrote:
> Following-on from a dicussion at OSM party, and perhaps of interest to our new
> press officer...
> ~
> For a project which depends on potential volunteers knowing about the project,
> and starting to understand its rather radical approach to cartography, the
> job of communicating with "press" is perhaps the most important part of OSM.
> So far, we've had one newspaper article and two local-television slots, for a
> project which has been going 3 years...

Off the top of my head, all these over the last 18 months:

* Spanish TV
* IoW TV
* Big Issue article
* Newspaper article in for the SE England Party
* Radio interview for the IoM party
* Several podcasts by Steve Chilton
* Lots of talks and presentations at loads of conferences

I think there is as much an issue of tracking this publicity as
acutally getting it in the first place.

> I'd like to suggest that the biggest influence we want to have on press
> coverage is not stories specifically about our project.  But it's stories
> which mention us in passing.  Articles that mention OSM as the "default"
> alternative to any proprietary mapping project which is announced, and
> include at least one line in any Google/OS/TeleAtlas/TomTom article comparing
> whatever new product is being announced, to OpenStreetMap.  For example,
> there will be news coverage of giving feedback via your car navigation
> system.  Ideally, the journalist should "know" when writing the Teleatlas
> feedback article that she really ought to point-out to her readers that this
> contribution will be incorporated into just one company's database, and that
> there are "more open" projects that she could compare the new feature to.
> So how do we achieve this "background awareness" of OpenStreetMap amongst
> journalists and broadcasters?
> The Open Rights Group was launched just over a year ago, intending to be a UK
> version of EFF (paraphrased).  It takes about £5000/month from 1000 people to
> support two full-time staff.  (this is just background info from memory - see
> wikipedia or web for more accurate details). But they've managed to be
> mentioned, compared-to, or quoted, in loads of press articles, for any topic
> that falls within their area of interest.
> AFAICT, their method is quite simple: just have a telephone number,
> continuously staffed during office hours, where journalists *know* that they
> can get a comment or opinion on any matter relating to [in ORG's case]
> digital rights/restrictions.  For anyone writing their article or preparing a
> news segment about some technology-related issue, it seems to be very useful
> for those journalists to have somewhere they're guaranteed to get a coherent,
> well-reasoned opinion or comment, normally an opposing-opinion, especially if
> they can attribute it to the spokesman of a non-profit group with lots of
> members, rather than to a generic unknown individual.
> So I'd like to see some discussion as how this could be used to get
> OpenStreetMap-style quotes mentioned in passing, at the bottom of any article
> talking about digital or community mapping technology.  Perhaps we could ask
> OpenRightsGroup for more information about how they handle the press. Perhaps
> we could find out if ORG would be interested in promoting OSM. Perhaps we
> could have a "press-contact" phone number ourselves.  Maybe we have web pages
> dedicated to the kind of information journalists need, in a format that's
> easy to incorporate into articles. Maybe we issue press-releases for each
> major new feature (how many press-releases have been published for AND data,
> or the conference, or Yahoo imagery, or mapping parties?), or highlighting
> the limitations of each proprietary mapping idea that gets launched.  Anyone
> have other ideas?
> Because without some background-awareness of the project (like wikipedia has,
> even amongst people who don't use it), it's going to be very difficult to
> meet the exponential-growth that we're aiming for.
> Regards,
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Nick Black

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