Meadowlands Media Frenzy
Unprecedented Coverage Results In Record-Breaking Eco-Program Participation
By Hugh M. Carola
Here at Hackensack Riverkeeper®, we’ve always understood the value of working with the press to get our message across. We’ve cultivated good relationships with many print and broadcast journalists over the years. This summer though, it went beyond anything we’d ever done before. If there was such a thing as a “news lottery,” we won it big.
It began with a New York Times article entitled “Splendor in the Grass” by Staff Writer Tina Kelley. Running on the front page of the Metro Section on July 16, the article offered readers an insight into the Meadowlands as we see it every day but as it’s rarely seen by the average Times reader. Kelley’s article painted a picture of our Eco-Programs as good if not better than I could have done myself. Then the phone began to ring and everyone wanted a seat aboard one of our boats. What had been a successful season turned into a frenzy as we scrambled to accommodate the rush of people who wanted to visit the Meadowlands by pontoon boat or paddle. Among other things, we turned 12 open Eco-Cruises into double-boat trips and added three additional dates. Then they promptly filled up.
In August, just as things began to settle down a bit, the Star-Ledger came out with another feature article about exploring the Meadowlands. Then Captain Bill Sheehan, executive director of Hackensack Riverkeeper®, was interviewed on WOR Radio about our Eco-Cruise program. By Labor Day, our nine remaining open Eco-Cruises were booked solid, including six double-boaters. For the first time ever, I started standby lists to fill any cancellations we might have. And the standby lists filled up! It was unbelievable.
After all this, we learned to “being careful what you wish for,” and we experienced firsthand the value of good media work. We apologize to all of you who missed out this year. We really did all we could to get you–especially you Times and Ledger readers and WOR listeners–out on the water with us. In the next issue of Tidelines, you can read the whole story of this incredible season and, more importantly, check out our 2006 Eco-Program schedules. See you at the river!
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