Vancouver Island PR pros get inside scoop

By Peggy Kulmala, MBA APR

Regardless what is your job title, if you are reading this, working with media is likely somewhere in your job description.

We all know – like in anything we do – relationships are key. So it only makes sense that a successful media pitch would be largely dependent on our relationships with media. All Communications 101.

But just how do you get to know busy reporters? What are the media outlets’ audiences? What happens to your news release after you press “Send”? How is Victoria’s media environment changing?

CPRS-VI gave Vancouver Island public relations, communications and marketing pros a chance to ask those questions and more during our annual Media Crawl on Friday, April 24.

Over thirty people signed up for the popular event, open to members and – dare I hope – future members.

The day included stops at Bell Media, Times Colonist, and Page One Publishing, with a unique stop in between at NeverBlue, a performance marketing company.

The day started bright and early at Swans for breakfast and networking.

A short walk to Bell Media, home to CTV Vancouver Island, CFAX1070, Kool FM. After we split into two groups for a tour of the facilities, we enjoyed a panel discussion with CTV-VI anchor Joe Perkins, CTV’s community manager, Bruce Williams and CFAX news director Ryan Price.

Then a walk to Times Colonist, for a tour of their printing operations and quick Q&A with Dave Obee, Editor-in-Chief as well as reporters Jeff Bell and Katherine Dedyna.

We finished up the morning at NeverBlue, essentially a broker that helps organizers find the best place to advertise – around the world. Another of Victoria’s hidden gems!

We stopped at Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge for lunch and networking, and were treated to an impromptu Q&A with Sara Darling, former journalist and communications director at B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate.

Our first stop after lunch was about three kilometres away, so we gladly used the day passes donated by BC Transit.

Our final stop was at Page One Publishing, publishers of Douglas, Yam and Salt magazines, with editor-in-chief Kerry Slavens, treating us to how Page One was born (in a basement), becoming a publisher of influential magazine brands and award-winning design services.

After Page One, our day was complete.

“I’ve attended a number of media crawls now because of the opportunities to network and keep my finger on the media pulse. And it’s just an enjoyable time,” says Laurie Sthamann, Communications Coordinator with CRD Regional Parks. “This year was especially timely because I’m working on a presentations on the local media scene for new managers. I was able to source some great information on demographics, audience reach and the like.”
CPRS-VI Media Crawl all came into being 17 years ago by CPRS-VI member Robyn Quinn of Big Bang Communications.
“Back in 1998 CPRS members were eager to grow and build connections with traditional media but other than running into each other at working events or the Victoria Press Club pub nights, opportunities were very limited,” said Robyn, who was Professional Development Chair at the time. “University pub crawls were the inspiration for the  first CPRS media crawl.”
Robyn, who is both a former CPRS-VI president as well as National president, worked with local volunteers to arrange guided media outlet visits, pizza and coveted personal introductions. The tradition continues to this day, and every year there is a new twist to the program that keeps bringing people back.

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