I had a good reminder today about audiences and media. Before our bimonthly trustees meeting ,a trustee came over and said his subcommittee had talked about how we needed more publicity to acknowledge the fact that our chorus and jazz vocal group had earned two gold medals and a gold diploma at a recent competition in Austria.
It was, indeed, a huge accomplishment. They were competing against more than 400 groups from 93 countries. Nearly 20,000 singers were involved. Earning one gold is a huge accomplishment. Winning two is nearly unheard of. Taking an additional gold diploma was beyond even the directors’ wildest dreams.
The conversation with the trustee was amiable and I told him I agreed with him,
But it wasn’t over, as I was to find out after the meeting.
We had gotten a fair amount of print coverage, as well as headlining it on our news site and publicizing the blog that one of the choir students posted while over there. We’re also making it the cover story of our alumni magazine summer issue.
After the meeting two more trustees came over with their concern that we find more ways to publicize — in the print media — the victory.
One trustee had a contact at his city’s newspaper. Another trustee suggested hometown releases. I emphasize that it was a friendly but earnest discussion. Our trustees understand alumni and constituent relations. They know the important of PR in recruiting. They care about higher education and they care about our university or they wouldn’t give up evenings and afternoons studying reports and attending meetings.
Our trustees are successful professionals — judges, bankers, teachers, retired CEO’s, and doctors.
And they read the newspaper to get their news.
On my walk back to my office, I was having the same thoughts I had 25 years ago. How can we do more hometown releases?
It’s this steady tension between the traditional and the progressive that is fraying the nerves of PR folks across the country.
Newspapers continue their steady decline and I continue to give presentations about how communication is changing and moving with avalanche force to the Internet,
The bottom line is that print still has an audience.
In this case, it’s a very important one.
I’d be interested to hear the experiences of others in the higher ed field.