ESLARP East St. Louis Action Research Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan

Contact area media

(A listing of area media outlets is provided in the appendix of this report).

Provide them with a press release about the event and the crime watch program, and invite them to attend and cover the event

Appendix A: How to Publicize Events, Meetings, and Programs

In order to successfully implement the programs and projects described in the preceding chapter the neighborhood association needs to a sound publicity, outreach, and media strategy. This appendix provides the details for conducting an effective publicity campaign for all of the neighborhood improvement initiatives. People cannot participate in the neighborhood association and its programs without information about the organization and its activities. Newspapers, radio, television, cable, and fliers or newsletters are all valuable resources for getting that information out to the community. This appendix presents a variety of methods that will help increase awareness and publicity for the neighborhood organization, including word-of-mouth, posters, fliers, newspaper articles, and television and radio announcements. The key is not to rely on only one method of getting the word out, but to use all means possible to reach the greatest number of people.

Effective outreach requires a strategy and volunteers to carry out the strategy. Publicity and outreach will require at least three organized, committed volunteers as well as a budget for printing and copying fliers, posters, and news releases. Publicity for an event should always begin at least a month in advance, preferably longer, depending on the scope of the event. About two weeks before the event, the neighborhood association should follow-up on all of the publicity attempts to heighten interest and coverage as the date of the event draws near. The outreach methods listed below have been successfully used in publicizing past Olivette Park Neighborhood Association events including: monthly neighborhood association meetings, the Summit, Neighborhood Clean-Up's and the Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum Open House. The publicity methods outlined below can be tailored to create awareness of small events like a neighborhood meeting or for large events like a neighborhood festival or fair.

1. Announce the event.

The first step in publicizing an event is to make an initial announcement. This is usually achieved through a media campaign; more specifically, through a press conference or a news release.

The press conference

The press conference is your first opportunity to announce the event to the media and public. The press conference is also an excellent time to answer any questions about the event. A press conference is usually the method of choice for announcing large, important events with broad news appeal, such as festivals or conferences. It is usually held a month in advance of the event. Members of the print and broadcast media are notified in writing through a news release a week in advance of the press conference about the time, date, location, and purpose of the press conference. A list of local media outlets is provided in this appendix. Reminder calls are made to each media outlet the day before the press conference.

At the press conference, members of the press are provided with packets of information about the event, including a news release, a flier or poster describing the event, a brief history of the organization hosting the event, and a list of the names and phone numbers of people to contact for more information about the event. The chair person of the event then announces the event, and other volunteers or officials may speak as well. Time should always be scheduled at the end of the press conference for a question and answer session. The entire press conference should run between 30 to 45 minutes.

The news release

The easiest and most effective way to announce small events with more narrow news appeal is to issue a news release to all local media outlets. The news release is essentially a summary of the who, what, when, why, and how of an event. It is written in newspaper style and provides at least two people to contact for more information. A sample news release is provided in this appendix.

2. Get the word out.

Announcing the event to the media is only the first step in publicizing an event. Even more important than media coverage is word-of-mouth publicity or personal contact. Several ways to get the word out include:

Door Knocking

Enlist block group captains in Olivette Park and volunteers from other neighborhood associations to go door-to-door and personally invite residents to the event. Volunteers should leave a flier at each residence and if possible, write down the name and phone number of each person who expresses interest in attending the event. This will allow for follow-up phone calls the week before the event. A team of ten people divided into teams of two can cover most neighborhoods in about six hours.

Pulpit Announcements

Contact area ministers and ask them to announce the event during their worship services or to print an announcement in the church bulletin. A stack of fliers should be dropped off at each church office to pass out to members of the congregation. Thank you letters should be sent to all churches who agree to announce the event.

Business Posters

Stop by local businesses and ask to hang a poster or flier about the event in the window, lobby, or waiting room. Each poster should list the name and

number of a person to contact for more information.

Organizational Networking

Contact area organizations and social service agencies to help spread the word. Neighborhood organizations, fraternities and sororities, youth centers, senior citizen centers and day care facilities could spread the word by making an announcement at their meetings and by distributing brochures or fliers to members.

Phone Calls
Challenge each member of the neighborhood association to call five friends or family members. This type of personal invitation will substantially increase the turnout of the event.

Cable Television

East St. Louis has two active cable television stations, operated through the GEMM Media Centre and State Community College, that carry local news and announcements about local events. In addition, Mayor Gordon Bush has a weekly television show that often highlights community events. For more information about the Mayor's weekly program, contact Kelvin Jones at the Mayor's office.

3. Encourage coverage of the event

The day before the event, call local media outlets and remind them of the event. Even if they have carried pre-event announcements and publicity, they should be invited and encouraged to attend the actual event. Provide a detailed schedule of the events, so reporters and photographers can be sent at the appropriate times for photographs and interviews.

The day of the event, two or three of the volunteers who organized the publicity strategy should be designated spokespersons for the event. All media inquiries should be directed toward to one of these spokespersons. These spokespersons should have fliers, brochures, and news releases with background information about the neighborhood association to give out to the reporters and photographers.

4. Evaluate the publicity strategy

Review the publicity strategy and its effectiveness. Take notes on what should be done differently for future events, as well as what worked well. This will be helpful for the next group of volunteers in charge of publicity. All newspaper articles generated should be clipped and preserved in a neighborhood association scrapbook. Thank you notes should be written to reporters and photographers who covered the event, businesses and social service agencies that helped distribute fliers, and to all volunteers who knocked on doors.

5. Media List

Ms. Cheryl Cadue

City Desk

Belleville News Democrat

P.O. Box 427

Belleville, Illinois 62222


News Desk

East St. Louis Monitor

1501 State St.

East St. Louis, Illinois 62005

Ms. Margaret Gillerman

East St. Louis Reporter

St. Louis Post Dispatch

900 N. Tucker Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63101

News Desk Attn: East St. Louis Reporter

Riverfront Times

1221 Locust St.

Suite 900

St. Louis, MO 63103

News Desk Attn: East St. Louis Reporter

St. Louis American

4144 Lindell Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63108

News Desk

KMOX Radio

One Memorial Dr.

St. Louis,, MO 63102

News Desk

KMOV-TV, Channel 4

One Memorial Dr.

St. Louis, MO 63102

News Desk

KPLR-TV, Channel 11

4935 Lindell Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63108

News Desk

KSDK-TV, Channel 5

1000 Market St.

St. Louis, MO 63101

News Desk

WESL Radio

149 S. 8th St.

East St. Louis, IL 62201

News Desk

WIBV Radio 1260

2625 S. ILL

Belleville, Illinois 62222

Mr. Frank Absher

News Director


Box 1773

Edwardsville, IL 62026


Ms. Deborah Powell

News Director

East St. Louis Daily News

GEMM Media Centre

575 N. 14th St.

East St. Louis, IL 62205


Ms. Jackson

News Director

State Community College Cable Station

601 James R. Thompson Blvd.

East St. Louis, IL 62201

6. Sample News Release:

Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities

532 N. 10th Street

East St. Louis, Illinois 62201

Dunham Dynamic Museum to Host Open House;

Strategic Plan to be Presented

For Immediate Release

April 17, 1996

Contact: Jeanelle Stovall (618) 271-3367

Diane Gormely (217) 333-3890

Minola Brown (618) 271-8862

East St. Louis - The Dunham Dynamic Museum will open its doors to the community for an open house, scheduled from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at 1005 Pennsylvania Avenue.

All are welcome to browse through Ms. Katherine Dunham's extensive collection of African and Caribbean art, gaze at the photographs, costumes, awards, and mementos from her long dance career, and learn of recent efforts to preserve her legacy in East St. Louis and the world.

Ms. Jeanelle Stovall, director of the museum, says "We are looking forward to sharing the excitement of the Dunham collection with our East St. Louis neighbors. It has been too long since we celebrated the important cultural work being done in the city. Spring is a great time to do this!"

Ms. Dunham, a world-famous dancer and choreographer, came to East St. Louis nearly 25 years ago, at the age of 62. As the founder, creative director, and master teacher of the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities, Ms. Dunham has used dance, painting, sculpture, drama, music, and language arts to inspire children to follow their dreams. The Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities was founded in 1969 and currently operates four core programs: the Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum, Katherine Dunham Children's Workshop, Cultural Diversity and Global Awareness Program, and the Institute for Intercultural Communications International Dunham Technique Seminar.

Drastic cuts in arts funding, along with the depressed state of the East St. Louis economy, have created a financial crisis for the museum and the Centers in recent years. This crisis prompted several local and state officials to establish the Katherine Dunham Emergency Assistance Committee in November of last year to assist Ms. Dunham in resolving the Centers' immediate and long-term financial problems.

The Dunham Dynamic Museum open house kicks off a campaign to secure public and private funding for the Dunham Centers, as well as to re-establish the Dunham Centers as the city's premiere arts organization and the region's most important cultural institution. Information about the strategic plan to ensure the future of the Dunham Centers will be available at the open house.

"This campaign is a critical effort because of the invaluable contributions Ms. Dunham has made for more than sixty years to American culture as a dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, educator, community-builder and humanitarian," said Kenneth Reardon, assistant professor at the University of Illinois and a member of the Emergency Assistance Committee. "The state and nation can ill-afford to lose touch with the dramatic example of Ms. Dunham, whose artistic, scholarship, teaching and civil rights activities have inspired so many."

The event is being sponsored by the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities, the University of Illinois East St. Louis Action Research Project, and the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association. Ms. Minola Brown, a long-time East St. Louis resident and chairperson of the Cultural Committee of the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association, is serving as chairperson of the open house organizing committee.

Document author(s): Angie Morgan, Eric Stoller
HTML by: Abhijeet Chavan
Last modified: June 26, 1996

Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan

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