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When I saw President Obama wipe his eye last week as he informed the world about the Connecticut school mass slayings, my thoughts turned to all those affected by this horrific event, including the first responders and the journalists covering the story.
Those are the two words I say to law enforcement, medical personnel., the coroners and to journalists, whose job is to deliver the good news and the horrible.
I hope you are taking care of yourselves, getting the proper rest and spending time with your own families during this holiday season. And if you need to, please reach out to a professional for counseling in light of post-traumatic stress disorder.
What is PTSD? The National Institute of Mental Health defines it as "an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event."
Almost two years ago, NPR reported First Responders, Rescuers Come Forward With PTSD about an Aspen, Colo. first responder who battled post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the story which Outside magazine covered, Michael Ferrara worked as a search-and-rescue man, ski patrol officer, paramedic and firefighter for 30 years. Later, "horrific images" paraded before his eyes from those rescues.
He says eventually he could not control 'the slideshow that was all these events' including 'an eviscerated man from an automobile crash,' according to NPR's report.
Ferrara found help in therapy.
One of many resources for first responders is the First Responder Support Network. According to its website, it provides "treatment programs that promote recovery from stress and critical incidents for first responders and their families."
Journalists who cover tragedies, which is routinely referred to as "breaking news," have resources also.
According to information on its website, "The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy."
At a Meetup on 12.21.11 hosted by Dallas-based LevelTen Interactive, Tom McCracken gave an excellent presentation on results oriented Web content strategy.
Here are 4 ideas I found especially intriguing:
1. Hire journalists.
He said journalists are his favorite people because we can “blend the art of storytelling (literature) with the science of reporting (journalism).” Amen brother. I could not have said it better.
Beyond that nice pat on the back, the craft of gathering information through interviews and other sources, preparing it and sharing it with targeted digital audiences is essentially New Media.
2. Focus on your target audiences.
This is standard practice. McCracken divided this category based on the primary audience, secondary audience and tertiary audience. I was interested in his advice to set objectives for your content, such as "getting revenue or generating excitement." My goals for this blog are to generate sales, especially for my consulting services, and to educate my audiences.
3. Use visuals.
Video and photos generate more interest, McCracken indicated. Check out this Yahoo! eye-tracking study about the way people browse webpages: http://goo.gl/pxzO. It will be helpful in developing your content.
4. Promote your content.
McCracken touched briefly on search engine optimization and social media for promotional purposes. He said he planned to delve deeper at the next Meetup.
Some practices I found beneficial are: sharing content on Twitter and other social sites, paying attention to the uniqueness of each platform and speaking the lingo accordingly. Another tactic is to use highly searched keywords.
The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
I heard Shama speak at a Social Media Club of Dallas event on 4.22.10. I bought and quickly devoured The Zen. It's a must-have because it's practical and filled with effective case studies.
World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers That Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories by David Meerman Scott
This summer my brother turned me on to this book and it's a gold mine because David's ideas are fun, first of all, and unique. He, too, says "hire a journalist." Yay!
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.