Friday 7 February 2014

It's All About The Story; How Media Convergence Can Do Good Works

Traditional and New Media Convergence
Graph created by Unimark Creative 

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Clients periodically ask how new media and traditional media can work together. I wrote this article about two successful Rotary media events that I managed which demonstrate the principle. It was published in the February edition of the Rotary District 5360 newsletter.

A few days before the Super Bowl some of the scheduled TV commercials showed up on YouTube. During the television broadcast, advertisers paid $3.5 million to access the record setting audience of more than 111 million viewers. Two hours after the game I received a link through LinkedIn taking me to the entire collection. 

We are officially into the age of media convergence. Actually, we've been there for a number of years. Traditional media, online media and social media have intersected in ways we couldn't have imagined even five years ago.
Content Is King
Here is the good news. New media has been made for Rotary. Why? We have thousands of life changing stories. Today’s media – both new and traditional – is driven by content. Content is loosely defined as anything you see, read or hear. Rotary offers it all.

“But, how can media convergence work for my club,” you ask? A few weeks ago I heard NEWSTALK 770’S Angela Kokott and Dave Taylor talking about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation goal to eradicate poverty. The way they talked about it made the goal seem distant and unachievable.

Feature Radio Interview
I emailed them letting the producers know about a local connection with the BMG foundation – District 5360. I explained the foundation’s matching grants program for micro-credit and clean water projects in developing nations.

I told them about numerous projects that have been organized by District Rotarians. I gave Steve Rickard’s contact information suggesting they interview him about his experiences visiting microcredit projects in developing nations.

The outcome was a five minute feature. The host was most intrigued by Steve’s remarkable story of how micro-credit radically changed the life of a single mom in the Dominican Republic. I recorded the interview on my laptop.

If you click through the links below you will experience media convergience even though you may or not have heard the original interview on the radio.
·       Marty Boogaart uploaded an MP3 to DG Pat’s District website
·       Charlene Bearden uploaded it to the District FaceBook page
·       It was uploaded to a newly created District SoundCloud audio site
·       It was uploaded to the Rotary Action Group for Micro-Finance website
·       Tony Knight uploaded it to the Calgary West FaceBook page
·       It was uploaded to the District 5360 Microcredit Task Force site
·       Steve Rickard uploaded it to his personal YouTube account
·       You are reading about it in this email

We could have added another social media element by asking Past District Governor Steve to shoot a “selfie” of himself at home talking to the radio host and uploading it to Facebook or tweeting it while they talked. However, his wife Marie confided that may not have made a very pretty picture! 

Lots of Information
If you are thinking the social media activity outlined above represents a lot of work, relax. There are management sites like Buffer, HubSpot, HooteSuite and others that allow you to manage all of your accounts from one place.
To get started, the Rotary International website has an excellent guide called ‘Effective Rotary Public Relations’ which offers tips for writing news releases and how to interact with the media. I just received my 2014 edition and see that a helpful section about social media has now been added.  

Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp 
How well can all of this work? Two years ago Karl Herzog asked for media help for the Rotary Everest Trek project. We generated stories in the Globe & Mail, Red Deer Advocate, Lethbridge Herald and Calgary Herald. The Calgary story was picked up and published in dailies across Canada. We also placed TV and radio interviews.

The news features funneled readers back to the project website and blog. A major portion of the funds were donated online.

The outcome? More than $150,000 was raised for a school for Sherpa kids.

I just checked, and the Herald and Globe stories are still online. I just uploaded a NEWSTALK 770 interview with Karl to the District SoundCloud site

Now, that’s quality content. There are hundreds of stories in District 5360 that provide excellent content, are engaging and provide value for the new media age.  

Robyn T. Braley is a writer, speaker and music composer. He is the President of UniMark Creative which focuses on website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. Contact him at or

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