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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Compass Points 2/8/2006

By Al Campbell

Whether he read the column prior to the call, who knows, but is seemed as if he did.
 “I have 160 Middle Township High School students ready to give blood, and we’d like to get some coverage,” said Batz.
Those who donate blood or who work the blood collection sites, know there have been many bloodmobiles where 20 or even 35 pints of the life-giving fluid was considered outstanding. There, in a local high school, Batz had 160 young donors waiting in the wings.
He had enough gumption to pick up the phone and call.
As a result, I returned to the alma mater, although I felt a stranger walking it seeming miles of new halls, and snapped photos which will appear in today’s edition.
Teacher and Student Council Adviser Wil Mendo said the annual drive is entirely a function of Student Council.
Twenty members of the group took specialized training with Red Cross, and were at school (sit down before you read the rest) at 6 a.m. on Feb. 1 to assist with the setup of the bloodmobile.
How many readers thought teenagers didn’t care about anything but themselves? See how wrong some perceptions can be.
This example is not isolated. There are many students in other local schools who perform good deeds to help their communities. Some we hear about, like the one just explained, because one man picked up a phone and dialed seven digits.
Others were equally as beneficial, but because no one contacted us, the world will never know of those great acts of kindness and selflessness.
It’s all about public relations and public perception.
But it goes beyond that, far beyond.
Such “positive” press, as public relations people like to call it, helps curry favor with the masses.
If they have a positive perception of what a group does, it is more likely that they will, perhaps, donate funds or time to that group. If they have a strong enough view, they may join and become an active member.
Monthly, at its regular meeting, Middle Township Board of Education has what it calls “Sunshine Moments” when principals tell what momentous accomplishments took place within the last 30 days.
Quite often, I am amazed. Troubled, too, since such great stories have slipped into history, because no one told us about them.
There is a perception that newspaper people have a magical crystal ball that sees all, even into the future.
Such is not the case. We rely on grass roots calls, from people who see things or belong to organizations that do good things.
In many cases, since time and personnel are so limited, we ask those people, or someone in that organization, to snap a photo and e-mail it to us along with a small write up of the event.
Whether our reporters do the work, or the group’s publicity person takes the photo or sends the release, the result is the same. News gets printed, and the public has a great knowledge of that organization.
We’ve received many calls from fledgling organization members who tell us, “I’m new to this publicity thing. I’ve never done it before.”
We respond, it’s not as important how something is written, as long as it’s sent to us. We can put it into the form that will be printed. We need the name of a contact so that, if there are questions about dates or spelling of names, we can correct them before they get in print.
If a photo is sent, we ask that, if digital, it is medium to high resolution. If a regular print, it should be crisp and clear with people named, from left.
It isn’t that hard, is it?
Best of all, it lets the world know what good things are happening in our community. We all know they take place, If you let is know, it’s our job to publish them.

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