IABC Cites Louisiana Seafood News as Best Practice Media Site

by / Newsroom Ink on 09/12/2011

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Social media networks and platforms give companies and their brands an opportunity to talk directly to the public, bypassing traditional media and PR agencies. The Louisiana Seafood Newsroom is heralded as a successful example of strategic thought leadership in a recent article by Tom Martin posted on the CW Bulletin, the e-newsletter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

Ewell Smith, director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, called upon The News Group Net, now Newsroom Ink, to develop a content rich news site that would allow the voices and stories of the Louisiana seafood industry be heard during a time of crisis.

When the first news of the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico crossed the wires, Smith knew his industry had a potential problem. When the rig sank into the gulf waters, Smith realized he had a full-blown crisis on his hands.

As brand journalism moves from a trend to mainstream, smart brands are taking advantage of the new world order by initiating online news according to Martin:

After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, consumers feared that the surrounding coast and wildlife, especially seafood, was tainted by the oil and unsafe to eat. Traditionally, a crisis communication plan that features paid advertisements and public relations would have been enough to stem consumer’s fears. But in today’s “Did you see that on YouTube/Twitter/Facebook?” world, the traditional media approach isn’t enough. We don’t live in a news cycle world anymore. Instead, today news is in real time, all the time. And it’s a decidedly digital world.

The Louisiana Seafood Board understood this. After the oil spill, they took the extra step of creating their own news website: Louisiana Seafood News. Here they could tell their story directly to consumers and more important, take the time to tell the entire story—not just what would fit in a sound bite or nightly news story. And as an added benefit, the site also served as a place for mainstream media reporters to turn for statistics and facts, thus making it easier for reporters to write the stories that would feature Louisiana Seafood’s information.

Having created in 2009 the first dynamic online newsroom for Imperial Sugar, also from a crisis situation, our proposal to the seafood board was a radical departure from other agencies trying to win the board’s approval.

Artist Michael Isreal and Newsroom Ink’s founder Ed Lallo at “Support the Fisherman” event on Grand Isle, La. Photo: Newsroom Ink

“We realized that the initial attention being given to BP and the capping of the well was hampering our ability to get our story told. We needed to have the public informed about seafood safety, as well as the potential dangers the spill could have on the Louisiana fishing industry,” said Smith. “After receiving funds from BP to aid the industry, we were inundated with calls by PR firms and other agencies offering their services. One call stood out above the rest, the initiation of an online newsroom purposed by The News Group Net, understood the obstacles we were facing.”

The dynamic online newsroom is a tool for today’s PR professions to manage a company and it’s brands online communication.

It is a new business forum allowing a brand’s story to be actively told by professional journalists from a perspective that only the company can offer. The online newsroom is the factory that runs a company’s content engine. It is the place to address brand issues and crisis management, marketing and communications, all aligned to the CEOʼs agenda. It is the one place that 24-hours a day local, national and international press can obtain stories, photos, videos and story ideas told from a company’s unique perspective.

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