A property of matter by which something that is not moving remains still and something that is moving goes at the same speed and in the same direction until another thing or force affects it.
- Merrriam-Webster Dictionary
Want to see a neat trick? Watch someone do the whole yank the tablecloth off the set table gimmick, and you will be thoroughly impressed by what you witness.
No, it's not magic. It's a simple force of physics - inertia. As you can see from the definition above, it basically means that an object at rest wants to remain at rest, and one that's in motion will tend to stay in motion unless another force acts on it - gravity, friction, a large concrete truck. What have you.
In this case, the objects on the table tops want to stay where they are parked, and you can see that even though the table cloth is yanked off one table and onto the other, all of the pieces on both tables more or less stay parked where they started. Impressive.
|The Voyager spacecraft|
Inertia is also the other reason why the two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, will continue pushing out into interstellar space for the foreseeable next few hundred thousand years. Unless the gravity of another star - or the tractor beam of some passing alien spacecraft - stops the robotic explorer, it will continue to push on into the great void on its mission of exploration.
It's also the force that can be found in many organizations, especially when it comes to public information. For some reason, organizations which have either been burned by a media encounter in the past or just have a bad impression of what reporters do will frequently put little - if any - effort into improving their relations. They will see the media as a necessary evil to 'deal with' when they show up on a scene, and will drag their feet to reply to media requests in a timely fashion.
|Good outreach begets more good coverage|
Funny, it's also the same force that organizations with great media relations and outreach policies use to keep pushing themselves forward. Building relationships with reporters. Inviting them to media events. Feeding them story ideas for those slow news days. This inertia will only change if someone who doesn't see the value in this type of outreach grabs the helm and decides to drag it to a halt.
That's no good.
So, what does this mean to you, the hard-working PIO? It may be up to you to nudge your organization in the right direction to build bridges with reporters in your market. Simple acts like calling the assignment desks of your local outlets to introduce yourself and provide your contact information can go a long way toward initiating those relationships. And, if your organization is already doing the right things, find ways you can help to keep that going. Get training on how to be a better PIO. Learn a new skill like photography that can help reporters.
Every little bit can make such a huge difference.
Tom Iovino, Public Relations Strategist
Hillsborough County, Florida
Hillsborough County, Florida