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[802SEC] notes from Public Relations meeting

Yesterday, when I walked into the SEC meeting room for the Public 
Relations meeting, Paul asked me to be the 802 PR "contact point". I 
agreed (though I later told Paul that I can't commit to continuing on 
this until I check with my employer regarding an issue). In any case, 
I took some notes from the meeting.

We had Karen McCabe (Senior Marketing Manager, IEEE Standards) and 
(Michael Bratnick of CoreCom, a contracted PR firm) on the line. We 
agreed on the importance of Karen's four points in her note below. 
The plan is to continue with the 802 News Bulletin, while pushing in 
some other areas. We noted that many of us hadn't seen the first 
bulletin, which is at:

On the News Bulletin front, we would like to be able to issue it 
right after each Plenary. The idea is that reporters who pick up 
corporate press releases after the Plenary should learn to confirm 
the accuracy in the Bulletin (and essentially be embarrassed if they 
publish something contradicting this readily-available source). 
Furthermore, the news itself can become outdated if we delay; for 
example, last time we talked about the expectation of Standard Board 
approvals, but the Standard Board actions were over by the time the 
Bulletin went out.

We discussed the need to update the Bulletin during the four months 
that it is current, updating the facts and adding links to news from 
interim meetings. Michael was amenable.

To be timely, Micheal and Karen would like a preview of our major 
items 10-14 says in advance. We agreed that this would be especially 
important for any draft press releases. I also described the 802.16 
process. For a few years, we have posted a report immediately after 
each session. We preview a draft of it at our Opening Plenary, and we 
finalize it (pending edits) at the Closing Plenary. As the PR 
"contact point", I like to ask the other Working Groups to consider a 
similar process. For a sample, see:
While Michael could pick up his main material right from here, he 
wouldn't generally get finished material, because the News Bulletin 
is for a broader audience that may need less detail and more 

The Bulletin was distributed to a list that Michael assembled (800 
people, I think). We can send them additional names. There was a lot 
of talk about assembling an "A list" subset of these names who better 
understand the issue. They might get more detailed information. There 
was also an extended discussion about holding regular conference 
calls with them.

We discussed the fact that the session results make sense only if you 
understand the background. We talked about the need for a page on the 
802 web site aimed at the general public. It could include:
-an explanation of 802 overall
-a summary of what the various standards address and how they relate 
to each other
-a summary of the process, with a flow diagram and an emphasis on 
defining terms (so that, for example, people can have a reference to 
understand a News Bulletin item such as "Draft X was approved for 
Working Group Letter Ballot")
-project descriptions ("backgrounders"), timelines, and news. It was 
agreed that a good system would include links to pages that would be 
maintained directly by Working Group, though format consistency would 
be encouraged. A good backgrounder should address the technology and 
its potential economic impact.

We discussed the need to develop a way to address alliances. People 
mainly voiced the view that it is OK for IEEE to refer to acknowledge 
action by alliances that support IEEE standards. In general, we would 
like to see 802 announcing the news and alliances announcing support 
for 802 actions.

Michael offered to find out the name of the font used in the graphics 
of the 802 News Bulletin so he could use it for a compatible look.


>The first IEEE 802 e-news bulletin was distributed in early Dec--after the
>Nov 802 Plenary. It proved successful, with the IEEE receiving about a
>dozen queries/request for more information from the media (for articles,
>etc).  (I'll get that list for you over the next day.)
>The IEEE 802 e-news bulletin was rolled out as a pilot. Going through the
>process of the development and distribution of the first e-news bulletin
>did bring to light some issues that need to be addressed in order for the
>e-news bulletin to be successful (distributed in a timely manner after the
>meetings and to be viewed as "the source" for IEEE 802 news). Listed below
>are what staff and outside communications consultant, CoreCom, consider
>issues that need to be addressed and suggestions for improvement.
>1. IEEE needs to receive 10-14 days prior the meetings information (beyond
>simple agenda items/listings) from the working groups/committees, possibly
>the committee's planning documentation.
>We need "more meat" so we can develop the news briefs and/or news releases
>in advance of the meetings. This way we have time to write the news items
>and, more importantly, have affected parties review in an efficient manner.
>If we could be in the position of developing and having "ready-to-go" the
>news prior to the meetings, immediately following the meetings (even with a
>few edits) the news could be released. We would not lose 2-3 weeks of
>writing and reviewing the news items.
>2. It would be quite beneficial for the IEEE 802 Committee to identify a
>point of contact for the press and staff. This person would provide
>guidance to IEEE on what activities/actions, etc. are newsworthy and can
>serve as a point of contact for staff and the media when the working group
>chairs are not accessible. In putting together the first e-news bulletin,
>we did experience some challenges with getting information in a timely
>manner from the respective working groups, and after the news bulletin was
>released in getting editors from the media in contact with working group
>chairs/members. The media usually has a very short (less than one day)
>window when putting together their articles, and need to have an accessible
>point of contact. Staff can handle status type questions/simple queries,
>but the media is looking for more technical/indepth data that staff is not
>in the position to provide. Staff believes that the IEEE 802 group may be
>losing some press opportunity/exposure due to limitations meeting the
>media's deadlines.
>3. We (IEEE 802 committees with support of staff) need to address how we
>should interface with industry groups/alliances that are related to IEEE
>802 standards (e.g. Resilient Packet Ring Alliance and Bluetooth). These
>alliances or SIGs are "beating" IEEE to the punch with regard to
>distribution of IEEE 802 working group news. They are releasing IEEE 802
>news without  consulting/coordinating with the IEEE. We understand that
>these alliances/SIGs play a key role in the success of IEEE 802 standards
>activities, but in most cases IEEE and the IEEE 802 groups are not getting
>4. We need to evaluate the need for "backgrounders"--documents that provide
>background/history of the standards working group and the value/impact of
>the standard in the marketplace/industry. These prove quite beneficial to
>the media and serve as a reference document.
>Staff does propose that we provide a 802 publicity report for the 802
>group. The report can highlight the status/update of PR efforts and outline
>issues and suggestions. It could serve as a useful tool for the 802
>groups--not only providing them an update, but identifying areas for
>improvement and advice.
>As always, we are committed to supporting 802 and getting its important
>news out to the media. We welcome the opportunity to work with 802 to
>develop a successful publicity effort.
>Karen McCabe
>Senior Marketing Manager, IEEE Standards
>445 Hoes Lane, PO Box 1331
>Piscataway NJ 08855 USA
>PH: +1 732 562 3824