Sometimes, the system works


I’ve worked with — well, dealt with — a good number of very bad media relations officers. They’re the kind of people who are so mind-bogglingly unfamiliar with media that you wonder if they were interviewed for their jobs. Other media relations and communications folks are great at their jobs, often because they were once journalists, and they know a thing or two about working with reporters.

Today, I came across a fine example of media relations. It was so fine, in fact, that it prompted this blog post. I’m normally loathe to applaud media relations (“is he in bed with the enemy?”), but this is worth pointing out.

The folks at Concordia University’s media relations team are preparing for the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, which will invade their campus from May 28 until June 4. It’s an enormous undertaking to plan the thing, mostly because more than 8,000 researchers will be sandwiched within a few city blocks talking about their work.

Apparently, though, someone forgot to tell Tyler Yank that she should be worried or stressed out. She’s behind the media relations Twitter account, and it looks like she’s both having fun and doing a good job.

I’m writing a whole lot about research being presented at Congress 2010, and have been tweeting about it. And Tyler noticed.

She sent this tweet midway through this morning:

@nonstopnicktv Saw that you are heading to #Congress10, follow us and @concordianews for live updates!

So let me get this straight. She engaged me, offered useful advice, and even threw in the relevant hashtag? I was impressed. So I browsed some of her other recent tweets. They included the following:

“It’s the remix to IGNITION, Hot and fresh out the kitchen” – R.Kelly lyrics / But seriously, check it: #Congress10

Now, I’m young enough (or old enough, for some readers) to remember this song as a staple of my high school experience. Great memories. And the Ignition Remix referenced in a tweet about a stodgy academic conference? I was even more impressed.

Not to mention that I now know about an exhibition at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (as you probably do, if you clicked on the link in that tweet).

Tyler tells me she doesn’t want to take all the credit, but she gets the nod on this one. So bravo, for now. But remember, media folks, I’m watching you.

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