Press contacts

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Press contacts

OJW
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...

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,

OJW













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Re: Press contacts

Richard Fairhurst
OJW wrote:

> 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. :)

cheers
Richard

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Re: Press contacts

Nick Black
In reply to this post by OJW
On 8/12/07, OJW <[hidden email]> 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,
>
> OJW
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/talk
>


--
Nick Black
--------------------------------
http://www.blacksworld.net

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Re: Press contacts

Petter Reinholdtsen
In reply to this post by OJW

[OJW]
> So far, we've had one newspaper article and two local-television
> slots, for a project which has been going 3 years...

This is not quite true.  May I suggest we create a wiki page to track
press coverage, and urge people to add entries there?

See <URL:http://www.nuug.no/imedia.shtml> for an example with the
following relevant entries for OSM:

  "Fribrukskart over verden og Norge lages på dugnad" - linux1.no 2007-08-08
    http://linux1.no/node/2764
  "Ønsker kart til fri bruk" - Computerworld Norge side 13 2007-02-09
  "Kartdata uten bruksbegrensninger" - FriProg-magasinet side 13 2007-02-05

See <URL:http://wiki.skolelinux.no/Presse> for an example on how it
can be done using a wiki page.

Happy hacking,
--
Petter Reinholdtsen


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Re: Press contacts

Jonathan Bennett
Petter Reinholdtsen wrote:
> This is not quite true.  May I suggest we create a wiki page to track
> press coverage, and urge people to add entries there?

Like this one?

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/OpenStreetMap_in_the_press

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Re: Press contacts

Petter Reinholdtsen

[Jonathan Bennett]
> Like this one?
>
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/OpenStreetMap_in_the_press

Yes, exactly like that one (well, almost - I suspect it would be
better with consistent date format. :).

I added the three I remember, and will try to track down the reference
to one that was in LINUXmagasinet here in Norway last year.

Happy hacking,
--
Petter Reinholdtsen


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