Thursday, 9 February 2012

'AWARENESS': THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT

Does scattergun bring meaningful awareness...?

Look back through CE's press record

Here's one way to do this.

Highbeam is an Internet archiving services that preserves newspaper reports across the world and makes them available on line. It does not include all newspapers – far from it – only those subscribing to its service, but that still adds up to a lot of press coverage.

Here's how you work it. First you sign upon on line in the usual way, after which you have unlimited access to Highbeam's archive for a week. If you then wish to continues accessing this service, you have to pay.

Have a look into Highbeam's archive here:


Even without signing up you can still view what it has to show, without paying and for as long as you like:

Just to the website and enter “conductive education” in Search.

Don't forget the inverted commas

767 hits

That's what Highbeam found me up I tried doing this a few minutes ago. That's 767 newspaper articles (yes, there are a few false positives included in there, but surprisingly few).

That's a lot of press coverage in the newspapers over the years in the newpapers that use Highbeam.

If you want to read these articles for free you will have to sign up (have a good week!)

What's to see?

Draw your own generalised conclusions about these search results. Here are mine:
  • they are in the English language
  • mostly from the United Kingdom
  • much from the West Midlands (Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury) and
  • nothing like as frequent now as they used to be.
To me this suggests that continuing high press profile press coverage for Conductive Education is demonstrably possible – though I do know the unremitting effort that goes into achieving and maintaining this.

And the big question?

Does all this make a scintilla of difference? One has at least to wonder. If it does not, then a canny PR specialist would be questioning factors such as the nature of the stories and their positioning.

A scattergun or blunderbus is fine but it is a crude weapon, making a lot of noise but perhaps signifying little. With an enormous effort and more than a bit of luck, a degree of coverage may achieved, for a time, but this will not necessarily translate into meaningful awareness, that is into public understanding – never mind into sympathy to a cause or active political or financial support.

Without this then media coverage may be no more than just wallpaper or, as one used to say, tomorrow's chips-wrapping. As an end in itself it may be of limited worth and effect, unless part of wider social and cultural change.

So what and how?

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