Ask anyone who follows media and they will tell you the same thing – too many “local” outlets are really only interested in selling commercials and delivering a profit to their big corporation ownership. Of course, that will be at least the underlying business reality of any operation.
But, as part of the Tanner Friedman blog’s mission to point out the best in both traditional and emerging media, it’s time to point out one outlet that understands and embraces its potential to positively impact the community it covers, while fulfilling its business objectives.
I spent the past several days in Minneapolis and St. Paul as one of our clients was involved with a TV station-driven effort to interest girls in science careers. This event was far more than those you see when a TV station lends its logo and some airtime. This was an event actually conceived and executed by the Fox-owned station, KMSP-TV, with the help of community partners and sponsors.
We face tough times as a nation. To remain competitive, we need more of our best and brightest working in the sciences, including girls who have traditionally not been encouraged to enter those fields. Fox 9 understands that. So, 6 years ago, they had the foresight to create their “Girls & Science” event – a fun way to interest 4th through 8th grade girls in science.
The event, held for the first time this year at the impressive Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, features interactive, hands-on experiences for girls to try science and interact with women working in science fields. Our client had two scientists there, of different generations, to let girls sample some experiments and talk about possible careers. For four hours, a steady stream of Minnesota families came through the exhibits, having fun, learning and making a difference in the lives of their daughters.
For the TV station, it was a community service/promotions/news/sales combined effort. It took a lot more work than “just selling spots.” For the community, though, it was a TV station (“old media”) taking a new approach to meeting a need. For our client, it was a chance not only to extend a brand and tell a story. It was a chance to touch lives – far outside of the corporate environment. These are the communications initiatives to applaud, but also to support, as they create indelible impressions.