Introduction to a Media Strategy

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EFFECTIVE communication has long been a key consideration of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works – but even more so when that department has been entrusted with overseeing R30-billion worth of much-needed improvements to infrastructure.

The Department has an obligation to the people of this province – to keep them properly informed (and enthused) about a host of planned interventions in transport, public works and property … all of which are destined to change the face of the region, as well as the living standards of its inhabitants.

How can this be done?
Simple. By embracing change … by taking the initiative … and by being proactive.

In this respect, it is imperative that a standalone COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION be established as a matter of priority – and that a key element of this division should be an ELECTRONIC NEWSROOM.

The advent of the Internet, the SMS and the email – and the remarkable growth of the Blogging phenomenon – has created massive challenges, as well as opportunities, for Government communications departments.

Media specialists and Ministers who, in the past, may have been tempted to sit on a story for days at a time, now run the risk of having agendas torn from their grasp by the growing number of ordinary people (as well as those who have axes to grind) who have become aware of the power of the new electronic communications tools.

There is a feeling among many of the more savvy communications specialists that a request to “give me until tomorrow” – or even “until this afternoon” just won’t do anymore. Indeed, even “give me five minutes” is often too late” in the present era of lightning-fast presentation and exchange of information.

Government communications practitioners need to compete with the array of self-appointed purveyors of information – and we believe that the establishment of an electronic newsroom within a communications division in the Department of Transport and Public Works will provide them with a valuable tool in this contest.

Of course, information at the press of a button brings with it its own challenges….

And the most critical of these challenges is what many of us politely refer to as “information overload”. To put it bluntly, many people (us included) are becoming siek and sat of the flood of material telling us to “do this” or “buy that” – in newspapers, radio, television and magazines.

This notwithstanding, we need to redouble our efforts to tell communities in this province (either directly or through the various media) about the BENEFITS our plans hold for them.

And we should do this by using the new electronic tools more innovatively and by communicating more effectively and credibly with our target audiences.

Who are our TARGET AUDIENCES?

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