PHILADELPHIA: With more than 15,000 members of the media expected to descend upon Philadelphia next summer for the Republican National Convention (RNC), local PR leaders and the convention’s organizers have already begun to mobilize a colossal army of communications pros.
PHILADELPHIA: With more than 15,000 members of the media expected
to descend upon Philadelphia next summer for the Republican National
Convention (RNC), local PR leaders and the convention’s organizers have
already begun to mobilize a colossal army of communications pros.
’There’s no other event that has a media audience as big as a political
national convention,’ said Timothy Fitzpatrick, press secretary for the
2000 RNC. ’This will draw all network and cable news outlets, and set a
new standard for online coverage.’
Sue Schwenderman, a tourism PR veteran in charge of media relations for
Philadelphia 2000, estimates she will need 2,500 PR volunteers to handle
the media. That’s a lofty goal, since (according to estimates) combined
membership of the eight communications associations is less than 1,000.
There may be up to 1,000 more practitioners in the area, but motivating
them to support the RNC may prove difficult.
The 50 PR and advertising leaders of local agencies, corporations and
civic organizations who comprise the ’Marketing Philadelphia to the
Media’ committee face a similarly daunting challenge. Tasks that need to
be accomplished well in advance of the convention, which begins on July
29, include producing a delegate and media guide, organizing more than
10,000 volunteers and developing an online media room.
Phyllis Polk, PR coordinator for Philadelphia’s office of the city
representative, was among those who worked for the city’s last major
political event, the 1979 vice presidential debate between George Bush
and Geraldine Ferraro.
’This will be an extraordinary experience for anyone in PR,’ she
’The media horde will be here for up to three weeks and, unless Senator
McCain pulls a real upset, there’s little hard news surrounding a known
outcome. It’s up to us to fill the void.’
Other pros are more skeptical. ’The potential exists for it to become a
fiasco,’ said Chilton Goebel Jr., a 30-year veteran of Philadelphia
’I just hope it all works out.’
PR pros willing to volunteer should e-mail sfeldscher@aol. com or