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Author Topic: Eurofurence 18 Media Relations Report  (Read 2429 times)

o'wolf

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Eurofurence 18 Media Relations Report
« on: 19.09.2012, 15:37:16 »

Sorry, I'm late... I'm sure you have seen the TV and press coverage of Eurofurence 18, please allow me some words about our involvement in that.

First of all, a very big "thank you!" to everyone supporting us with our media relations work. Especially: Luxen and Lynard as my deputies, I don't know what I would do without you. Also, I'd like to welcome Zefiro to the team, who spontaniously joined the team at the convention and turned out to be indispensable as a runner and coordinator. Further thanks go to Mytifur, Lucky Tiger and Flutterby for helping with the ZDF report, Ace Shepherd for handling the BNN team, and Liam for being a wonderful fursuit embassador for the MDR Querformat report. Very special thanks to BigBlueFox for providing the fursuit! Next, of course, Pinky, Peter S. Beagle, Pan Hesekiel Shiroi, Henrieke, karpour, Meomar, Eurofurence Security, and all fursuiters that supported us. You folks rock!

There was slightly less coverage this year (mainly due to the Magdeburger Volkssitmme having other topics like the Kaiser-Otto-Fest this year), but we were top news twice on the regional public television evening news (MDR), had a front page and local news article in the Saturday edition of the Magdeburger Volksstimme, regional private Radio SAW was back, one late night news item on nationwide public televions ZDF (alas, no recording exists), a 4 minute reportage on MDR again with radio DJ and TV presenter Seraphina Kalze trying out fursuiting, and the BNN "je zal het maar zijn" documentary. Also, German news agency DPA published a series of photographs by Jens Wolf of the fursuit parade, which was distributed by AFP and Getty Images internationally and led to coverage from San Francisco Bay to Peru...

From my observation, moving the fursuit photoshot away from the fursuit parade to an evening event greatly reduced the crowd issues we had last year and made working with the press much easier. Having one TV crew in the house every day instead of all of them at one single point of time apparently made it more bearable for the attendees. However, it caused much more stress for me than I'm able to cope with. I'll have to distribute more responsibility to my team (now that I have one) next year. What won't change are those short term improvising things, like us running around asking "excuse me, can we meet in 20 minutes in front of the reception desk, in suit?" — if you think furries are unreliable you haven't worked with journalists yet. (In fact, this year every fursuiter I asked was there. In time.) Having to deal with reporters usually working on hard journalism (ZDF, BNN) was an interesting experience. They are quite different to handle than tabloid reporters, especially in that they aren't as willing to accept what we suggest them. Apparently, I come across a bit too much like professional PR guy. Don't know if that's good or bad. On the other hand, the resulting reports are not as superficial as many tabloid reports. Nevertheless, I'm a bit disappointed by the BNN report due to the producer apparently hoping for at least some kind of sex beyond a bit of on-stage innuendo, so they added some pictures they found on the Internet near the end of the report. Nothing that'll harm us in any way, but it doesn't fit into the report at all. What were they thinking?

I still hear people asking why we let the media in. Even if you you don't agree with our reasons: if we throw them out of the front door, they'll sneak back in through the back door. By then we lost every chance to talk to them about their misconceptions and how we view ourselves. And like it or not, we are way too large to not attract public attention. And when there is public attention, there will be press. Which by the way is an important and valuable aspect of a free society. We may think of our little convention as celebrating a party with a couple of friends that is of no importance to the public. But it is not our decission what the public considers important or not. We are part of this society, like it or not, and we have to play by its rules. Trying to keep the press out is not only futile and undesirable, it is also dangerous. Doing so sends the message that we have something to hide. Which is, just image-google "furry", ridicilous. In fact, we'd be better off as a community if certain individuals would handle some issues more discrete. Trying to hide away while at the same time exposing yourself on the Internet makes you look like a hipocrite. Not good.

But if we take it into our hands, if we as Europe's largest furry convention talk to the media, actively invite the kind we want to deal with, carefully selecting from those who ask us for accreditation, gives us the chance to highlight those topics we think about being representative of the fandom at large and make the subject our own before someone from outside the fandom comes along to steal our stage, or even harm us. Please note, we don't lie, that would explode in our face in no time. We don't actively avoid certain topics, because that's futile. But we can and do provide our own perspective of the fandom. This is also important for us for the business side of the convention. While we are running a not-for-profit event, our business partners and suppliers definitely have to work for profit. Which means, we have to convince them, at first that we exist at all, but also that we are honest, reliable and professional to work with. The best way to do that is presenting them some views from the outside about what we are and what we do. Realistic media coverage is incredibly important for that. If you were the manager of a hotel, would you believe someone claiming to run an event of more than 1200 attendees without any media coverage?

Finally, here are some links to reports:

- MDR "Sachsen-Anhalt heute" opener: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3S1HaPfLkY
- MDR Querformat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2mFWSBm8yA ("Querformat" means "landscape oriented", BTW)
- BNN Je zal het maar zijn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWlszZTPATI
- Magdeburger Volksstimme:
  http://www.volksstimme.de/nachrichten/magdeburg/924313_Ganz-schoen-tierisch-Eurofurence-Convention-zum-dritten-Mal-im-Maritim.html
  http://www.volksstimme.de/multimedia/bildstrecken/bildstrecke_sachsen_anhalt/924261_Fellgestalten-in-Magdeburg.html
  http://www.volksstimme.de/aboservice/volksstimme.de_newsletter/924956_Pelzige-Menschen-Ueber-1000-Fans-in-Magdeburg.html
- DPA news for kids (State of Lower Saxony version):
  http://kinder.niedersachsen.de/index.php?id=600&sfile=iptc-ndk-20120902-14-dpa_38215162
- DPA/AFP/Getty Images photo series, RPP Noticias Peru version:
  http://www.rpp.com.pe/2012-08-31-tiernos-y-peluditos-animales-caminan-por-calles-de-alemania-noticia_517359.html
- radio SAW:
  http://www.radiosaw.de/fotoshow.php?onair/news/20120830-furry-convention/
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Is it that things really change? Or does the outside rearrange?
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Gyroplast

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Re: Eurofurence 18 Media Relations Report
« Reply #1 on: 19.09.2012, 16:52:59 »

Awesome report, thanks!
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Give a man a fish, cats will pester him for a day. Teach a man to fish, cats will plague him for a lifetime.

Cheetah

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Re: Eurofurence 18 Media Relations Report
« Reply #2 on: 19.09.2012, 16:53:26 »

o'wolf, thank you so much for your outstanding work. Many people don't realize how much effort is being put into our press relations, and how much raw man-hours it takes to manage all these media requests, and provide them with the information they need, and modulate media attention in a way that makes both sides happy. Again you did a hell of a job, and I hope we can successfully spread out the work across a few more team members next year, and take a little bit of this heavy load off your shoulders.
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yours,

Cheetah

silverfoxwolf

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Re: Eurofurence 18 Media Relations Report
« Reply #3 on: 19.09.2012, 17:50:32 »

Invited media stops them sneaking in and going after filming the negative things that happen around. I'd much rather have a representative group that will be sensible with the media then random person giving a very bad image.

It's not difficult to see how cameras affect people when they are around. The last thing that's needed by anyone is an incident that is on film and shared on national TV.
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Ragear

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Re: Eurofurence 18 Media Relations Report
« Reply #4 on: 19.09.2012, 19:50:07 »

good job, o'wolf, I found the media (personally) less annoying. The "Querformat" thingie actually was quite fun to watch and I think it was a positive boost. It's better to have the media at the front door and offer sth. to them than have them sneaking around. And let's face it: Magdeburg is not the navel of the world so a colourful congregation of cacophoneous critters does make the news...good it's good news.

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