Archive for the ‘Lunch Series’ Category:
PPC-NYC members met to explore the topic “Foundation and Nonprofit Websites as Genuine News Outlets – What are the models, the biggest successes and the possibilities for the future?” Our discussion leader, Steven Waldman, was most recently FCC Senior Advisor to the Chairman and is the author of the report “Information Needs of Communities.”
The Dismal State of Journalism
The discussion started with Waldman detailing the condition of investigative journalism, community reporting, in-depth issue coverage and the traditional news media in general. Some key facts:
From 2005 to 2009, newspaper online traffic doubled and digital revenue grew to $716 million. But that hardly offset the losses among newspaper companies of $2 billion in the print side of the business. “Print dollars being replaced by digital dimes,” Waldman characterized the situation.
Spending in newsrooms on reporting staff dropped by 1/3, to a level not seen since before the early 1970s.
Coverage of public affairs – especially focusing on courts, schools, legal affairs, state house, education, etc. – has deeply diminished.
Fewer people cover more (more counties, more beats, more duties—tweet, blog, write, etc.)
With fewer staff, traditional media have shifted coverage towards more easily reported institutions and reporting “official accounts of events” drawn from press releases.
Stories that require intensive investigation and longer time-frames – like misuse of tax dollars – are increasingly rare.
While the volume of local TV news has increased, the quality has arguably diminished, with a greater orientation toward “if it bleeds it leads.” TV news has more coverage of crime and less public affairs. TV news is not filling the print newspaper gap.
At the same time, radio, magazines and cable news are all reducing staff.
Can New Media Fill the Gap?
At the January 17, 2012 meeting of Public Policy Communicators NYC, members came together to share their experiences doing advocacy communications and their organizations’ plans for advancing issues during the [...]
nonprofit foundation communication, search engine optimization SEO. How-to on SEO. Search Marketing. Organic search engine marketing. PPC search engine marketing.
On Wednesday, July 27, Public Policy Communicators NYC members met to focus on the topic “Making the Most of Google Analytics.” The session was billed as an opportunity to go [...]
The March 2011 meeting of Public Policy Communicators NYC focused on Website Impact Without Redesign – What are some of the most important functional elements you need to have on [...]
With all the tough Winter weather we’ve had, I hope the next meeting of Public Policy Communicators NYC scheduled for Wednesday, March 24 will find us enjoying a sunny and [...]
The January 2011 meeting of Public Policy Communicators NYC focused on Evaluating New Media Effectiveness – What are the best ways to measure and track the impact of new media [...]
We received lots of feedback from the Public Policy Communicators NYC group on what topics to cover next. And, while one topic came out on top, I was immensely happy [...]
Buy online zithromax, The November 2010 meeting of Public Policy Communicators NYC was all about how to develop effective communications plans. We set out to examine:
- How to produce realistic, focused communications goals and objectives.
- How to gain clarity and agreement on the specific target audiences and the modes of communication best suited to reaching them.
- How to get REALLY REAL about time allocation with both staff and organizational leadership on trade-offs, Buy cheap zithromax online, opportunism and sticking to a plan.
Edith Asibey – who has been a consultant to many foundations and international nonprofits on this topic, is a board member of our partner The Communications Network and is currently doing just this kind of work on a daily basis at The Atlantic Philanthropies – led our discussion. And, of course, order cheap zithromax online, the PPC members in attendance contributed lots of great thinking about how the concepts we were discussing played out in their work.
Edith began by stating her position that communications planning is a prerequisite for effectiveness. “How do you know if your communications are effective?” she asked. You simply can’t know if you haven’t taken the time to create a real plan against which to measure success. Further, Azitromycin, while large-budget organizations may have the luxury of spending in a way that throws lots of resources onto the wall to see what sticks, those with limited resources face an even greater imperative to plan in ways that directs resources only to the efforts that are most likely to have the greatest impact.
She asked the group to consider two questions: First, how would you rate the quality of your existing plan, buy online zithromax. It became clear that very few in the room considered their plans particularly good, let alone excellent, zithromax 600, and quite a few had no plan at all. Second, Zithromax 250 mg, she asked the group whether or not their organizations actually stick to the plans that they create. The commonalities in the responses showed that many of us are in the same boat – one that leaks.
That second question also produced a line of conversation among participants that became one of the strongest themes of the day: How do you create a plan that is targeted and strategic, but also allows for flexibility and responsiveness to opportunities within the news hole? Some said that you can create a plan that actually allows for that kind of flexibility – one which has a limited number of deliverables but which also has more loosely defined areas where new opportunities will be pursued, generic zithromax 500mg. Buy online zithromax, Others said you simply had to live with knowing that you will never fulfill your plan in its entirety. “If you stick to a plan exactly, then you probably won’t really be that successful, Buy zithromax uk, ” one person asserted. Edith said that planning for flexibility can actually help deal with unpredictability and challenges by defining priority areas, so that those opportunities that fall outside the priorities don’t become distractions. But, she said, z pak for sinus infection, sticking to the plan and pursuing other opportunities will always be a balancing act.
Steering the conversation toward specific ways of making more productive communications plans, Zithromax no prescription, Edith presented an example from a media campaign she led in Paraguay several years ago. She talked about the ambitions of the campaign and showed the goal statement that the campaign organizers had developed in the planning process: “Raise awareness of the Paraguayan population about the major environmental problems facing the country: deforestation, soil degradation, water pollution, z pak uses, loss of biodiversity.”
To many of us in the room, it seemed like a decent goal. Edith said that, Buy zithromax capsules, in fact, this was an example of a “monster goal,” one so broad and ill-defined that it could not adequately focus the work or lead to any understanding of how well one had moved toward achieving the goal. Several people in the room commiserated, saying that they had all seen communications plans that sought to “raise awareness” among a general population, buy zithromax without prescription, among “media,” “thought leaders, Z pak dosage, ” “within the community” or other hugely general audiences that provided little guidance in how to really target and reach key people within those populations.
In developing more meaningful goals that drive good plans, it is essential to gain clarity and SPECIFICITY about:
- Goals (these are the ways in which you want the world to be different within 3, 5 or 10 years, and which your communications efforts will have contributed to making happen)
- Objectives (while we did not cover it in detail during the meeting, I would like to include here an excerpt from Asibey’s “Are We There Yet?”: Objectives are different from goals: they are more specific and have a shorter time frame, typically one to two years, buy online zithromax. Think of objectives as a series of benchmarks on the way to your goal. Most likely, you will have a few intermediate objectives that will progressively lead to your goal, zithromax tri pak dosing. A good objective should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Zpak antibiotic, Attainable, Result-focused and Time-specific.
The process of gaining clarity and specificity about these elements will lead organically to an effective and focused communications plan. In fact, Edith said, z pak dose, specifying audiences is the only way to create good strategy. Buy online zithromax, In the Paraguay example, she suggested, as an alternative to working with such a broad goal, to instead create a series of concrete, incremental objectives that would anchor a much better communications plan. As an example, she suggested an objective that looks like this: “Secure support of 30 mayors in the most affected provinces to protect water sources.” This objective not only focused on mayors—a well defined target audience – but also honed in on the environmental element that had the greatest potential impact on the whole system.
This led to a discussion of one of the other major themes of the day: the often delicate relationship of communications to “program.” Clearly, Azithromycin zithromax online, when communications become central to the organizational discussion about how to achieve goals, some tensions arise about the right mix of communications efforts that are integrating “program objectives” and efforts aimed at heightening general awareness of the organization, improving its reputation. Some in the group expressed some anxiety about asserting themselves too strongly into the work of “program,” and said that their charge within the organization was to stick with media relations aimed at improving general awareness of the organization. Others embraced the idea of stepping back from the frequent task of trying to place OpEds from the President of their organization and helping the organization think through how communications could really help achieve program goals, zithromax azithromycin 500mg.
Asibey noted that the ability to play the role of internal consultant on how communications can produce program results may depend on how long you’ve been at the organization and how much trust has been established. She said it helps to sit down with program folks and really understand what they want to accomplish and learn more about their target audiences so that you can figure out how communications can help reach them. Those discussions with program people will also help flesh out the messages and messengers that will resonate with target audiences. Buy zithromax online no prescription, She said that, if your plan includes audiences described simply as “policy makers,” “funders” or “the media,” it is not specific enough. She cited an example of an organization she worked with that, what is z pak, instead of laying out categories of people they wanted to reach, went through an extensive process that resulted in exactly 450 named individuals that they wanted to influence. Once they identified those exact individuals who they believed could advance their objectives, they developed messages and modes of communications tailored to how those individuals receive information.
The remainder of the discussion ranged over participants’ experiences trying to force greater specificity to how the imperative to focus on core audiences squares with the new pressures many of us are feeling to spend more of our time and resources on social media, the effects of which seem to be diffuse at best, buy online zithromax.
Edith conceded that even good planning won’t solve all of these challenges, still “Specificity is very satisfying!”
Many in the group expressed a desire to talk more about this subject and delve more deeply into the planning process, which lead to a discussion of planning resources. One attendee said that PPC-NYC member Nancy Schwartz, who runs the Getting Attention! blog, is a great resource and an effective consultant helping communicators develop good communications plans.
Other PPC-NYC members who do consulting in this area include:
Douglas Gould, Douglas Gould & Co.
Rochelle Lefkowitz, Pro-Media Communications
Amy Sutnick Plotch, Amy Sutnick Plotch Consulting
Michael Remaley, HAMILL REMALEY breakthrough communications
Farra Trompeter, Big Duck Communications
Lisa Witter, Fenton Communications
Asibey’s communications evaluation report “Are We There Yet?” also provides great insights into communications planning and how to go about it. Those seeking communications planning literature should also check out the Knowledge section of The Communications Network’s website at: http://comnetwork.org/knowledge_research.
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