• Lucy Chandhial
    I saw these contrasting uses of Ring for the King (thanks to Fun with Bells tweets) and thought how varied our PR can be.
    I recently exchanged emails with a journalist looking for a church to be part of a bellringing story but he was starting with the baseline story that people are worried that bellringing might die out and that recruitment is driven to preventing the end of the tradition.
    I looked at the CCCBR site for Ring for the King materials and realised there is no straight forward press release for this kind of enquiry, perhaps this explains why we have seen stories ranging from the ‘desperate ap-peal for more bellringers’ (Desperate ap-peal) to more positive stories like the YCRA TV interview with Josie Leggett (YCRA on Facebook).
    I would like to see a more positive frame around recruitment in bellringing but are there any clear results on what kind of stories lead to good recruitment, is it a crisis which gets the story more visibility in the press?
  • John Harrison
    a journalist's role is to write stories that will sell, not to act as free PR for ringers, and it's a sad fact that that bad news sells better than good news.
    We need to be aware of this, and try not to provide any hooks on which to hang a bad news perspective. But since people will still come up with negative stories anyway so w need to be able to defuse them.
    I once wrote a series of articles called 'A Reporter Called', each describing how a journalist turned up with a negative story, and how the ringer from whom he wanted extra details managed to turn the story round and send him (or her) away with a positive story. I was over ruled because it was considered unwise even to mention anything negative.
  • Paul Wotton
    I think that the saying: "There is no such thing as bad publicity." applies. We need to raise awareness of what Bellringing is. The public need to appreciate it as skilled physical and mental activity, one that when done well is a positive contribution to the soundscape and that is more a communitarian church activity than a 'churchy' church one. When I tell people that I am a bellringer there quite a few that are surprised that bells are not rung automatically, disabusing people of that is important. Add in that it is a relatively low cost voluntary activity and you start to arose interest.

    Improved awareness of ringing is a good thing in its own right, arousing interest will naturally lead to improved recruiting.
  • Vicki Chapman
    I have a list of about 120 national, international and local media contacts and depending on the story will send a press release to a sub set, or all of them. With the Ring for the King PR all my contacts were sent exactly the same story. How they interpret it, and how the local ringers they are put in contact with explain it varies greatly. The YCRA piece was off the back of my press release as were several others. I then offer those people guidance on what message we need to try to get across.

    Having said that I was interviewed live on our local BBC Radio station,during their Volunteers Voices segment, and the interviewer just wanted to keep coming back to how many times do people get pulled up by the ropes. I think he mentioned it at least three times. Each time I had to explain this was a very rare occurance and only generally happens when inexperienced people don't do as instructed. Andit's not like the Mars advert.

    There is some guidance on the CC website about how to engage with the press, then how to handle them once you've got engagement https://cccbr.org.uk/bellringing/ring-for-the-king/

    The Press like a good "story". Doom and gloom seems to be their modus operandi at the moment, with the occassional good news story.

    I'm happy to give support to anyone dealing with the Press in what to say and how to come across.
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