WILMINGTON (DE): A big benefit when it comes to news media coverage is that it is free – a factor of major importance when it comes to community groups or organisations with tight budgets! And only does your event or news receive free publicity or new coverage, but your group is bound to receive a boost through this coverage as well.
It is important to remember though that while your group won’t have to pay for this coverage, it will have to work for it in other ways – building relationships with the media, preparing information and releases for them, being willing to speak to them or be interviewed by them, etc. Without putting in this type of work, your group will not reap the benefits of “free” media coverage.
We’re not sure why the media was kept from entering the event grounds on Saturday. Perhaps India Fest organizers don’t understand our jobs or the benefits media coverage could provide them, or perhaps they simply don’t like the media. We don’t know why the media was treated so badly at this event however, we are going to point out some key benefits about event media coverage, but first let’s understand what happened.
On Saturday, India Fest was held at the Father Tucker Brown Park in Wilmington, and for those familiar with the St. Anthony’s Italian Festival, It’s the same location of that event as well. India Fest is a food festival held once a year featuring many Delaware Indian cuisine restaurants. The event is hosted by the Indo American Association of Delaware (IAAD).
Indo American Association Of Delaware (IAAD) is a not for profit organization and according to records at the Delaware Division of Revenue, IAAD was incorporated in Delaware in 1984. According to it’s website, “Our board consists of fifteen volunteers of which a third come up for re-election each year. Our committees, and our membership, reflect the rich cultural and religious diversity of India. Though IAAD General Body Meetings are open to all persons in the Community, only dues paying members have the eligibility to stand for / elect Board Members. All activities are supported through membership dues, voluntary contributions and fund raising events.”
The website also claims it “has no political or religious affiliations.”
India Fest is “supported by the City of Wilmington and New Castle County”, IndiaFest is a grand interactive multimedia festival showcasing Indian food and culture.
While Delaware Newsline was on assignment at this event on Saturday, it’s staff was held at the gate entrance while the organizer escorted Governor John Carney around the event grounds. Carney also spoke at the event. When asked about Mayor Mike Purzycki, we were told he was also on the grounds of the event. Other media outlets like WITN22 News in Wilmington was also not allowed to enter the event grounds without first purchasing a wrist band. Sources there say that a photojournalist and a reporter were also kept at the gate and not permitted to enter.
So why the negative behavior with the media at an event where media presence could gain some benefits? We don’t know but we reached out to Joe Paul and Viren Bhatia at IAAD for comment on this story.
UPDATE: According to the media liaison at IAAD, Paresh Patel, there was a miscommunication and he extended his apologies. “We welcome everyone with open arms” “While managing the Public Officials, [WE] provide the Dignitaries time slot at 5PM this year with all sponsors and key media with list at entrance or I meet with them personally at Gate.” “I have personally escorted them around and may have missed your connection. WE have always appreciated the media and your coverage for 34 years of IAAD. WE appreciate all you do and IndiaFest is open to everyone all the time. “
Let’s take a moment to understand the benefits of having media present at community events:
WHY MEDIA IS IMPORTANT For many community groups and organisations, gaining positive and consistent coverage in the media can have an incredible impact on the work they do. It can have a multiplier effect on the good work that groups are doing. If people know what you have achieved and what you do, they are more likely to support your group. The more support you get, the more likely you are to have a larger impact.
While it is important that groups don’t become obsessed about getting media attention as a larger priority than actually doing the work they do, it can make a difference. So what are some of the reasons why the media should be important for your group?
Wider Audience: The various forms of media – primarily television, newspapers and radio – spread and disseminate information. Getting your information into the media will spread your group’s story further than it could be spread without media coverage
Target Audience: The media is so varied that a community group or organisation can closely target almost any sector – and through them, almost any section of the public – by looking closely at where it is directing its media focus. For example – a small, locally-based community group would probably look at concentrating on its efforts in local newspapers, radio and (if applicable) television. A bigger event or bigger community organisation could look further afield – to major daily newspapers and commercial radio and television. And then there’s the Internet, which continues to emerge as a component of the media.
Publicity & Exposure: A big benefit when it comes to news media coverage is that it is free – a factor of major importance when it comes to community groups or organisations with tight budgets! Not only does your event or news receive free publicity or new coverage, your group is bound to receive a boost through this coverage as well. It is important to remember though that while your group won’t have to pay for this coverage, it will have to work for it in other ways – building relationships with the media, preparing information and releases for them, being willing to speak to them or be interviewed by them, etc. Without putting in this type of work, your group will not reap the benefits of “free” media coverage.