Poor Club Coverage Despite Recent Events - Can IFAS Help?

15 years 5 months ago #3310 by Seanie_Morris
Hi all,

I'm sure by now most of you involved (heavily) with your respective clubs have found it quite hard to get the coverage your club deserves in the media (of any type).
As an example, I've never had an acknowledgement from Radio 3 in Tullamore regarding our involvement with COSMOS, the Transit, and even start of our season last September whenever I have sent emails or post. None of the papers printed the articles I submitted regarding the Transit, though they did print the one for COSMOS back in March.
And in my defense, I have submitted all the material in plenty of time too.

For some reason, TAS, which has been in Tullamore for 18 years, does not seem to be recognised properly for all its worth.
Despite the following sounding like a boasting effort for TAS, we had the first amateur radio telescope setup in Ireland; we have an operational Observatory, one of only a few outside of Dublin, since 1998; we walked 17 miles across the Sleive Bloom in 1 day in 1996 for sponsorship; with the help of the IAS we started the second annual Irish Star Party, Astrofest (Now COSMOS), in 1990. What haven't we done yet to acheive the recognition we long for?

All the clubs and societies in Ireland have "been here, got nowhere" or will at some stage come to this point. We all seem to be losing out, and its not just because Astronomy Ireland got here first. Could this be an issue that IFAS, as it was created for, tackle and win? Almost 2 years will pass soon, and so far, we all keep losing out. Can we see more suggestions and partaking of these same suggestions (those that are passed) to build on?

SAC has a great track record with the Whirlpool Star Party, and it receives many more visitors than COSMOS, AND its more well known. Would SAC permit the use of this years WSP as a platform to really launch IFAS to the country? Starting now and using the influence the Transit has brought on the Irish media, maybe we can get in touch with media outlets now in preperation for it?

Anyone care to reply?

Sorry its been a long winded post! You've got to the end at last!

:wink:

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #3311 by stepryan

Hi all,

I'm sure by now most of you involved (heavily) with your respective clubs have found it quite hard to get the coverage your club deserves in the media (of any type).
As an example, I've never had an acknowledgement from Radio 3 in Tullamore regarding our involvement with COSMOS, the Transit, and even start of our season last September whenever I have sent emails or post. None of the papers printed the articles I submitted regarding the Transit, though they did print the one for COSMOS back in March.
And in my defense, I have submitted all the material in plenty of time too.

For some reason, TAS, which has been in Tullamore for 18 years, does not seem to be recognised properly for all its worth.
Despite the following sounding like a boasting effort for TAS, we had the first amateur radio telescope setup in Ireland; we have an operational Observatory, one of only a few outside of Dublin, since 1998; we walked 17 miles across the Sleive Bloom in 1 day in 1996 for sponsorship; with the help of the IAS we started the second annual Irish Star Party, Astrofest (Now COSMOS), in 1990. What haven't we done yet to acheive the recognition we long for?

All the clubs and societies in Ireland have "been here, got nowhere" or will at some stage come to this point. We all seem to be losing out, and its not just because Astronomy Ireland got here first. Could this be an issue that IFAS, as it was created for, tackle and win? Almost 2 years will pass soon, and so far, we all keep losing out. Can we see more suggestions and partaking of these same suggestions (those that are passed) to build on?

SAC has a great track record with the Whirlpool Star Party, and it receives many more visitors than COSMOS, AND its more well known. Would SAC permit the use of this years WSP as a platform to really launch IFAS to the country? Starting now and using the influence the Transit has brought on the Irish media, maybe we can get in touch with media outlets now in preperation for it?

Anyone care to reply?

Sorry its been a long winded post! You've got to the end at last!

:wink:

Seanie.


seanie,
i from past expirence it is hard to get the media to co-operate. particularly when we all have jobs to be doing and a certain other person/organization has all the time in the world because it is the only thing he does, whatever his ends. mayeb for the next big event in astronomy we could use ifas to co - ordinate all the clubs to organize events everywhere across the country. we could also have some sort of hand outs with the ifas and local clubs logo and website address or email address. if there was one info sheet for all clubs it would help the smaller clubs who don't have the time/resources to do them for themselves. the would just have to print them off. it could also maybe have a bit of ifas history on it. we can be everywhere at once whereas mr. moore really only concentrates on dublin. each club could concentrate on the media in their area whereas ifas as a whole could concentrate on the national media. the info sheets need not be for a special events they could also be used when there is nothing special so that we are always getting the message across. the more we put out there then gradually the message will get through. and you will be surprised how long they last for. i ocassionally still get calls at home from leaflets put out when i was the IAS secretary and that was more that 8 YEARS AGO !!.
stephen.

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15 years 5 months ago #3315 by dave_lillis
Hi Seanie,
I already mentioned to Dave Bell about getting national media involved, he tried before and they just weren't interested, at the time.
I'll say it to him again, I think some of the problem is that we're not Dublin based, AI is and they get all the attention..

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
IFAS Rep. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #3316 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Poor Club Coverage Despite Recent Events - Can IFAS Help?
Just wondering, are we tacking this from the right angle?

If the media aren't interested with what they're being offered, is there another way? Local radio stations are always keen to give away free prizes. The hosting club may consider contacting the local radio station before each star party and offer say 10 free tickets to the first ten callers who answer a simple question.

This will do the following:

1. Free ad for the star party. These 10 people would't have turned up at the star party anyway so offering them free entry is costing nothing.
2. Free ad for the local astronomy club
3. Form a link between the local radio station and the club. They'll be much eager to hear from you if you offer something free to them.

Something similar can be done with the local press.

Even if we get a few interested locals into the star party free for one year they'll be much more likely to join the local club or at least tell their family/friends about it. Word of mouth is always a good form of advertising.

However, as for the overall issue about IFAS, we might just need to consider what the function of IFAS is.
Perhaps clarifying what the function of IFAS is would be a start. Does it have a target goal/mission statment ?

Michael

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15 years 5 months ago #3317 by ctr
Why not send your local paper a paragraph about your Venus Transit Watch and a couple of photos......you never know :wink:

I am sending a note in to the local paper and with a bit of luck it might get printed. We also had a mention on the Local Radio Station on the morning.

From little acorns.......

Each of us is here on earth for a reason, and each of us has a special mission to carry out - Maria Shriver

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15 years 5 months ago #3318 by dave_lillis
Michael,
Giving away prizes is an interesting angle,
The problem we've found is that astronomy is just not sexy enough to make TV or the big radio stations, maybe using prizes might work ??

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
IFAS Rep. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #3319 by Seanie_Morris
Thanks for the feedback so far folks.

Michael, I do like your point - IFAS's role should be clarified. I know we are not here to topple AI (as such); its more to promote the extraordinary wealth of all the other amateur clubs and societies in Ireland. This has not been acheived yet.
Regarding free prizes etc for publicity, the main problem I have down here is these feckin' organisations in question even acknowledging my post and emails for crying out loud! How unprofessional is that on Radio 3's part???

Stephen, I appreciate the fact that we all work, and at different times, but in my opinion, its not a good enough reason to say "oh I can't, I've work to do..." If someone is on a committee of a club or society, its for a reason - make time!!! :P

Connor, I plan to submit some pictures and an article, though I don't anticipate a quick print of same.
BUT, bombarding them would be more effective - in a nice way! For my part in TAS, I plan to submit almost an article a week, and see if aything progresses from it.

Dave, instad of asking David Bell to undertake the responsibility of contacting the media about IFAS et al, what about if each club has a committee member acting as a node to the media, and all the nodes from all the clubs acting under IFAS?

I don't believe for a second that we constantly loose out because of Astronomy Ireland. They've hardly featured in the Irish media this year as they used to, their membership is not so good, and people ARE taking more notice of local clubs. We nearly all have websites, public lectures, events, and the astronomical events happenng in the Universe are adding fuel to OUR fire - but we're not just burning bright enough!


Thats why I put forward this post. No one person is to blame, we're just not all as active as personally I think we could be.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #3321 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Poor Club Coverage Despite Recent Events - Can IFAS Help?
So perhaps each club should have a Press Officer???
Each Press Officer could present the public face of the local astronomy club. The position could be an appointed one and be held by someone already with a post in the club - not necessarily the head person but perhaps the one who's good at communicating with the media or have connections thereof.
All Press Officers could meet at each IFAS meeting where a joint media program could be organised based on the astronomcial events expected until the next meeting. This would ensure a consistent approach by all clubs right across the country. It would also get several heads together to discuss successes and failures therein.

Does this sound plausible??

Michael

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15 years 5 months ago #3322 by stepryan

Thanks for the feedback so far folks.

Michael, I do like your point - IFAS's role should be clarified. I know we are not here to topple AI (as such); its more to promote the extraordinary wealth of all the other amateur clubs and societies in Ireland. This has not been acheived yet.
Regarding free prizes etc for publicity, the main problem I have down here is these feckin' organisations in question even acknowledging my post and emails for crying out loud! How unprofessional is that on Radio 3's part???

Stephen, I appreciate the fact that we all work, and at different times, but in my opinion, its not a good enough reason to say "oh I can't, I've work to do..." If someone is on a committee of a club or society, its for a reason - make time!!! :P

Connor, I plan to submit some pictures and an article, though I don't anticipate a quick print of same.
BUT, bombarding them would be more effective - in a nice way! For my part in TAS, I plan to submit almost an article a week, and see if aything progresses from it.

Dave, instad of asking David Bell to undertake the responsibility of contacting the media about IFAS et al, what about if each club has a committee member acting as a node to the media, and all the nodes from all the clubs acting under IFAS?

I don't believe for a second that we constantly loose out because of Astronomy Ireland. They've hardly featured in the Irish media this year as they used to, their membership is not so good, and people ARE taking more notice of local clubs. We nearly all have websites, public lectures, events, and the astronomical events happenng in the Universe are adding fuel to OUR fire - but we're not just burning bright enough!


Thats why I put forward this post. No one person is to blame, we're just not all as active as personally I think we could be.


just a suggestion put forward before but how about a national astronomy day?. it could be say the weekend before everyone has the first meeting of the season. if this was held every year as a co-ordinated event it would be a good way to build up media coverage.
stephen.

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15 years 5 months ago #3323 by Seanie_Morris
Good idea Michael,
I suppose in some peoples' view, the secretary is th best person, and then the PRO, which in my opinion, should be the person to carry out media tasks. At AGM's, if clubs decided to take this responsibility on board, the PRO (or even Communications Officer??) should be given, say, a charter, aims, solutions (like your previous mention of prizes etc) and so forth.

Stephen, you're right - an idea for Astronomy Day was put forward before, but like the previous attempt at awarding certificates for observing, it faded somewhat into oblivion. Maybe this is something to start up? OR, what about incorporating it INTO Whirlpool? SAC can almost have any coverage they want with WSP, IF they can get the media on their side! (you reading this Mr. Lillis?? :wink: ). Sir Patrick Moore among many MANY other notable names have attended WSP in the last decade - use that to SAC's advantage! (Actually, I think the last time Sir PM was in Ireland was for that very same WSP, in about 1995??)

Is there anybody else who can add their opinions too to this thread???

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #3324 by dave_lillis
Seanie,
When I said I'd ask Dave Bell about it, I didn' mean that I'd ask him to take on any work/responsibility for it, I meant I'd ask him about his experiances in the past on this subject, and I did.
Apparently the media were asked before to come to the WSP, and they weren't interested. He's usually a very good persuader, but even when they were told that Mr Levy (of the Jupiter collision fame) was coming, they still weren't interested !.

As far as I know, no one in the whirlpool commitee has asked the media to come this year (again as fas as I know), if they come on their own accords, great.

Lets be honest here, if your going to have a national astronomy day, it really needs to be based in the Dublin area where most of the population is, and why not base it around an astronomical event (like the lunar eclipse later on in the year for example).??

If you want to persue this (I'm not), I'd suggest that you make a phone call to Dave B himself.

BTW, these are not the views of the SAC/WSP committe, just making comments based on what I know.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
IFAS Rep. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #3326 by voyager
Just FYI, the IFAS constitution, including article 2 "aims" is located on this site. There is a link to it on ever page on the boards in the "Navigate" section on the left of the page.

The stated aims are:

The aim of the Federation shall be to promote the interests and development of amateur astronomical societies in Ireland.


My Home Page - www.bartbusschots.ie

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15 years 5 months ago #3327 by albertw
Hi,

I havent read the full thread here but one thing that does need to be sorted out is to have an IFAS PR person.

Just having the person isnt enough however, the clubs need to activly co-operate with them. The transit is a good example of where there was a national/international event, and trying to get information from the clubs about events was like pulling teeth. I appreciate that organising events is hard, and that having this done well in advance and publicised is harder, however some of the information on the venustransit.ie site about club contacts & events was taken from clubs websites as I never got any replies from some clubs, perhaps some people may have thought I was stepping on their toes, apologies if it came across that way! If the IFAS committee had a dedicated PR person to handle the national media, this would in no way affect clubs doing their local PR, a list of who contacts who could easily be drawn up.

There is also the point about whether IFAS should be doing this at all, up orth the IAA handle the BBC/UTV so there is merit for suggesting that the national work down south should be the domain of the IAS - again leaving regional media to regional clubs. From a media perspective they have one person to go talk to A&S about, who do they call when they want to talk to someone else?

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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15 years 5 months ago #3343 by Seanie_Morris
Another tip for all of us out there: Use the IFAS logo where you can, and even your own clubs logo etc, and promote it as much as you can when out with members of the public.

For example:
TAS has been asked to give talks to the kids in the summer camps in the youth center down here, 3 in all. I am giviing the first one tomorrow.

To keep it interesting for them, I'm going to have a quiz as I go along. The answer sheets have the TAS logo and IFAS logo at the top of them.

I'm also going to get them to do a questionnaire for a few minutes (do you like astronomy/study science in school/have a tlescope/heard of our club/IFAS etc etc) with logos and information on the sheets, and ask their opinions.

AND, I've made up some vouchers for free membership for the winners of the quiz (as well as a pair of those €10 boniculars in Aldi's last week) with free issues of Realta - and if they don't want to join, to encourage them to give them to someone who does.

Places like Limerick, Wexford, Cork... in fact, nearly all large towns, would have summer camps running. Get in touch with the organisers and offer to give free colourful slide shows, telescope demos, and maybe even a few freebies!

Whats it going to cost? A couple of €€€'s and 2 hours...

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #3345 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Poor Club Coverage Despite Recent Events - Can IFAS Help?
Sounds like a good idea Seanie.

However, what would happen in the event that a few of the childen wanted to join the club? Some people would have mixed views on that issue. Personally it wouldn't bother me but others might have a different view...

However, your idea of using the summer camps is a good idea.

Michael

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15 years 5 months ago #3347 by Seanie_Morris

Sounds like a good idea Seanie.

However, what would happen in the event that a few of the childen wanted to join the club? Some people would have mixed views on that issue. Personally it wouldn't bother me but others might have a different view...

However, your idea of using the summer camps is a good idea.

Michael


How do you mean Mike? If many of the kids wanted to join, it would be great!
TAS had the first Junior Section in operation specialy for Under 14's about 14 years ago, but faded out a few years later. This might be the perfect opportunity to find out if there is an adolescent interest in astronomy in Tullamore, and get the Junior section up and running again.

S.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #3348 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Poor Club Coverage Despite Recent Events - Can IFAS Help?
Junior section...hadn't though of that.
Good idea!

Michael

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15 years 5 months ago #3372 by Seanie_Morris

Junior section...hadn't though of that.
Good idea!

Michael


Has any other club had/has a Junior Section (before)?

Ever think of starting one up?

S?

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 4 months ago #3531 by ctr
I've just had a thought

There are lots of local papers here in Ireland who need copy like I need a G&T after a Munster Hurling Final.

Why can't IFAS do a small, say monthly, column on astronomy and send it to each of the papers. Now each column would naturally have this website address and most people int his country read local papers...........

Comments?

Conor

Each of us is here on earth for a reason, and each of us has a special mission to carry out - Maria Shriver

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15 years 4 months ago #3533 by Seanie_Morris
Thats what I was saying before Connor about area reps for IFAS. For example, there are aout 7 local papers around Offaly I could (and have) sent in stuff for TAS.........

..........you know the outcome... :x

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 4 months ago #3534 by johnflannery
hi Conor,

congrats on the win . . . I have to admit I'm one of the few Tipp men who doesn't pine for a day out in Croker unfortunately ;-) Now the Tour de France, there's an event (sadly, NTL scrubbed Eurosport so I'm starved of the cycling).

I know David Bell drew up various column pieces looking at asides of astronomical history but I'm not sure if he approached any newspaper editors with the suggestion of running them monthly. I did a couple of pieces for the Nenagh Guardian before when there were particular events to look out for but it was really up to the editor whether the piece would run . . .

I sent them something on last year's WSP but they never published it. As well, the time of the meteorite last August they helpfully printed a map of the Silvermines area on the front page with an "X" marks the spot (where it landed) :roll: I contacted them to say they were way off the mark (after hearing two bus loads of people had spent a weekend trampling the fields in the area!) but they were not interested in correcting the initial jumping of the gun, so to speak. :roll: What do ya do in that instance!

anyway, I'm digressing all over the place. Again, it's something that maybe a couple of people could do and then syndicate it out to the papers (i.e. have a release for big events too). It's all down to whether someone is available to handle feedback though as that is a big part of what might be expected of a monthly astronomy column.

John

John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world

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15 years 4 months ago #3547 by ctr

anyway, I'm digressing all over the place. Again, it's something that maybe a couple of people could do and then syndicate it out to the papers (i.e. have a release for big events too). It's all down to whether someone is available to handle feedback though as that is a big part of what might be expected of a monthly astronomy column.


Are you volunteering? :lol: :lol:

As for feed back, how about in each club's area a local contact can be added to each column.

Conor

Each of us is here on earth for a reason, and each of us has a special mission to carry out - Maria Shriver

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15 years 4 months ago #3556 by albertw
Hi,

This was an issue for the ToV also. What I did in the end was sent out a press release to the national papers and posted the same here in case people wanted to send it to local media.

Ideally I would like to see the following. For major events (eclipses, meteor showers etc.) the I.A.S, as the national organisation, should send out the press releases and be the national media contact, of course mentioning IFAS for telling people about local watches etc. The same press release and information would be sent out by local clubs to their local media.

This would be fairly 26 county specific, as the IAA and Armagh planetarium and the EAAS do a marvellous job in promoting astronomy and getting coverage from the media up North. This coverage does not seem to extend southwards, which I think is probably due to the media here.

I mention the IAS as the national contact. Personally I think we suffer from a problem similar to US-EU international relations "When the US president wants to talk to Europe who does he call?" Similarly when the Irish media wants to talk to Irish astronomers who do they call? Having the National Astronomy Club take on this role in the national media, on behlaf of and with the support of IFAS, would give the national media a consistent contact point. This would not dilute IFAS at all since it is still the hub of the community and would be the focus of events all over the country. This would involve a more active national club however...

Seanie, area reps for IFAS? ILPAC for example has a grand total of 3 area reps. Me in Dublin, Colm in Clare, and Dave Gradwell (though he may not be aware of it!) in Birr! My point being that the response and activity from the IFAS clubs vary. Which is fine, its not up to the IFAS to tell people how to run clubs and activities, but unless there is a consistent committment from clubs to do things, it makes more sence for national organisations (ILPAC,IAS,IAA) to handle some things.

My 0.02EUR...

Cheers,
~Al
--
Not on the committee of the IAS or IFAS btw :)

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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