Saturday, June 19, 2010

Highland communities and publicity. You win some, you lose some.

Small communities which are dependant upon tourism have a love/hate relationship with publicity. They love it when it is good, and hate it when it is bad. Quite understandable, especially when their living depends upon it.

Let me tell you what happens inside a publication or television station when they get reaction from the public to a story they put out. At one time in a misbegotten past, I ran a sports radio programme for the BBC and was the Marketing correspondent for The Times.

The publisher always loves praise and thanks, and they remember it because they don't get much of it. Anyone who writes in to a journalist or editor and compliments them on a story is warmly regarded and if they do it often enough is remembered. All journalists, without exception all around the world, keep a little book of contacts. These are the people they always telephone first for quotes when a story breaks. It is very useful for someone in a community to get on to that list, very useful indeed. This is why some people's names are always in the paper. They are in the book. Don't take the journalist for granted, take him out to lunch.

The publisher ignores any adverse reaction to a bad story if they can. But if the criticism is effective or widespread, or organised, then boy, do they remember it. Anyone who organises a really effective attack on them is immediately taken out of any little books, and is marked down for further treatment in the future.

Oh yes, I can remember taking out a sailing club from my list, when a mildly critical piece about a race being run during high winds was objected to. They did not get on the radio again during my time there, no matter how many open meetings they ran. They never knew. Easy peasey.

So when a community gets publicity it does not like it is best to ignore it. Keep your head down. It will go away quickly. It is usually a one week wonder. However if a community objects, then it gives the story legs, as they say. The television people might follow it up with more critical pieces, run a feature on it, do an in-depth piece. Readers and listeners might start commenting on forums, and the story never goes away.

There are often stories about communities which they do not like. The Oban rail crash was not too popular with the residents of that metropolis. The Loch Awe fishing tragedy was not taken well with the residents of Kilchrenan I'm sure, but their publicity was good when when they organised a new safety system for the loch. They'll be in journalists books. Ardchatten community on the other hand did themselves no favours when they objected after the rail crash to the traffic being re-routed through Appin. Really silly. They'll be out of the books.

We are very lucky because we get a lot of mountain accidents, which no one likes but happily the rescue team is warmly regarded and is in every journalists book.

There is definitely a time to bite your lip.
20 brilliant walks around our cottage area
Easy hill walks in Glencoe
Why not walk up Ben Nevis one day?
Easier Munroe walks in Glencoe
Rock and Ice climbing in Glencoe
Cycling and fishing Glencoe
Spectacular wild life around our cottage
Golf in the Highlands, Dragons tooth golf course, Glencoe
Cruising the islands, using Glencoe as a base
Safe, beautiful beaches and bays in Glencoe area
Touring the Highlands by car from Glencoe,
Spring breaks, March April May Glencoe
Winter breaks, Jan Feb March in the cottage
Autumn breaks November December in the cottage
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