Well into the New Year, and now that I am recovering from my elevation to the Order of the Laurel, I am working on drafting instructions for local branches to use when planning demos. When inviting the media (either directly or by placing a press release in your local community calendar) please drop me a line so I can help you word-smith your materials and assist you in walking reporters/photographers through your demo.
Now that the tourney season is upon us, there are many more instances of media attention as we move out into the public demo and tourney season. Even a martial arts practice in a local park may bring a reporter or two. I have added a new document in Helpful Hints to clarify (I trust) authorized media contacts, speaking at public meetings, and some other observations on quotes, misquotes, and where reporters do their story research (surprise! The same resources that we use ourselves).
I myself have been on both the giving and receiving end of journalistic misquotes. As you encounter your local media, please remember to treat then with every courtesy. Remember, they are often working under tight deadlines, and I know from personal experience, my accuracy decreases when I am in a rush.
Whoops, I have gotten a bit lax in posting. At 12th Night, changes to Kingdom Law, which include this office, were read into the record. The policy is pretty brief and straightforward: essentially, my role is to be a resource and an educator on all things relating to outside media.
I want to thank the many branches who contact me regularly with questions and updates. Remember, if you do get media coverage after an event, please send it on to me so I can keep the Society clipping files filled with the great deeds of An Tir.
Now that we’re back on line (huzzah to the poor Weministers), I can pass on a note of appreciation that I received from a City Council member in Monroe, Washington (host city for Ursulmas):
I would like to commend your organization on bringing a unique and entertaining program to our city this weekend.
I’m sure others in the area enjoyed your weekend festival as much as my family and I did.
The competitions were fierce and exciting. And several of your members went out of their way to explain the events, activities and history.
Thank you again for bringing your celebration to our part of the state. We are looking forward to next year!
I was sorry indeed to miss Ursulmas this year and heard many good things from those who went, but I was quite struck that a member of the council should take the time to wrote, and recognise both the role that Ursulmas plays in their community and the courtesy of our populace as they interacted with the public.
Warmest congratulations to the event steward and her team!
Last Saturday, the Board of Directors approved a broad new social media policy, which will apply to all Kingdom and Branch sites as well. A useful matrix for determining applicability is included, which gives good “boots on the ground” examples.
I don’t have a direct role in how the policy is applied (other than being a fairly avid social media consumer), so I have no official statement to make. But having read the policy, I feel that it applies common-sense administrative guidelines combined with an eye towards courteous interactions.
…and the process makes one distinctly antisocial. I’ve had my nose buried in the virtual books, examining other company policies. I’ve got a longish list of points that I feel should be included. Overall, defining our goals and expectations for its use are key: maintaining social media sites takes a lot of work. I’ve been a moderator/administrator of ancient history discussion boards for years, and such sites need pretty much constant attention, care, pruning, and participation.
I also wrote the new Society Social Media officer after reading an article posted on the East Kingdom gazette. It appears that a policy is likely to be adopted in the near future that would be fairly comprehensive, so I’m planning to wait until then and examine the policy against my “wish list.”
I’m recovering from another wonderful 12th Night celebration, hosted by the Barony of Three Mountains. Fortunately, I arrived Friday evening with good time to unwind and dine with my Pelican, my Baron and Baroness, and a few other friends before things kicked into high gear Saturday.
I attended the Seneschals and Chatelaines meetings on Saturday and Curia on Sunday. My message to each group was the same, and there were three key points I emphasised:
- The Society Media Relations Officer’s philosophy and mine are very similar: our populace should be as welcoming as possible to friendly local media, and I am here to provide education and resources that will help branches present themselves well
- When you are describing the Society to a member of the media — or anyone else, for that matter — a good, brief description (think ‘how would I describe the SCA while riding up a couple of floors in an elevator?’) is, “We are a worldwide research and reenactment organization specializing in the middle ages.” Thanks to the Kingdom of Caid.
- On line resources (this blog and accompanying pages) will help branches understand current policy and draft appropriate press releases, posters, and flyers
I so enjoyed connecting with branch officers and others over the course of the weekend. I had the honour of serving Their Majesties of the West on retinue for the day also, so I know I didn’t have time to respond fully to everyone’s questions. I anticipate a flurry of emails in the near future, and I will do my best to respond promptly
During Their Majesties UlfrR and Caoimhe’s evening Court, Dame Brighid, An Tir Seneschal, read into the court record the text of the new An Tir Media Officer policy, which sets the framework for activities in this office. As soon as I get confirmation from her on the verbiage, which we tweaked a bit prior to Court, I shall post it here. Ultimately, it will be posted in Kingdom Law under “Deputies of the Kingdom Seneschal.”
After Curia, a few of us remained to talk about the Society’s new social media presence, and plans are in place to draft a social media policy to cover official An Tir sites, including Kingdom, Principalities, Baronies and their ancillary groups, and all other branches.
Again, in line with the Society Media Relations Officer’s overall philosophy, my goal is for this policy to focus on positive expectations and outcomes, as well as delineating clear boundaries, expectations and operational guidelines. I have spent most of the day (after unpacking the garb) listing points that I think are important to address in the policy, and reviewing published policies and guidelines from a number of different organizations.
More work this morning on filling in the site structure. The Media Materials Pages now include several press release templates; some are background on the SCA, which can be given to members of the media (after alerting the Kingdom Media Officer) and others are examples of event-related press releases. Helpful Hints now includes a useful “sound bite” which boils down the SCA in 12 simple words, plus a page with a few questions that members of the media might ask and some important pointers on eliminating SCA jargon from your dialogue with members of the media and general public.
There’s much more to come, including vital information on what to do when a member of the media comes knocking, but I must take a break and prepare for 12th Night. If you have questions, seek me out and I’ll be glad to visit with you.
This morning I spent some time working on the structure of these pages. As I was settling into the office last month, I wrote other Media Officers to seek permission to emulate their work. I am indebted to the Kingdom of Atlantia Media Officer for permission to emulate their excellent site.
Right now, the only — perhaps most important — document is the Society Media Policy, which sets the stage for how media contacts are handled. In the future, I hope to add practical advice on how this policy is enacted at the Kingdom and branch levels.
As new documents and pages appear, they’ll be listed in the menu bar to the right, but I’ll probably have something to say about each, so watch these posts for updates.
Greetings! I’ve been on the job just over a month now, and — despite the Yuletide season — making progress towards my goal of getting useful information into the hands of branch officers (Seneschals and Chatelaines primarily) who need it. This blog is a big part of my plans, and I am most grateful to Kingdom Webminster, Baronessa Chiara Francesca Arianna d’Onofrio, for helping set it up.
Some of the things you can expect to find here in the near future are sample press releases, copies of SCA Corporate policies and — eventually — our own Kingdom policies and “best practices” manual for handling media contacts like a pro.
I am also working with my “deputy-deputy,” Don Andrew Williams, on a plan to develop a library of stock photos of events around our mighty Kingdom. There is already a fine album of photos on the SCA corporate site, but we have many talented photographers whose work I greatly admire.
I am proud to serve our great Kingdom, and look forward to serving you.