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Tag Archives: AIA New Jersey
Our previous installments of “Working with the Media” have discussed ways in which you, in a personal or professional context, can begin to build a bridge with the editorial staff of your local publications. This included some strategies as to how to introduce yourself (and your expertise) to the outlet, along with a brief guide for writing an effective letter to the editor and a primer on packaging newsworthy projects into a formal press release to send to journalists.
In all of these installments, we were mainly addressing “proactive” media outreach, which is to say, outreach initiated by an architect specifically designed to garner publicity.
However, in certain cases, you may be spurred to engage with a journalist because of comments or omissions that he has previously made. While we touched on “letters to the editor” – letters written to be published in the paper – in a previous piece, we’d also like to discuss a somewhat different concept: Engaging specifically with the journalist by writing a personal note directly to him or her (as opposed to “letters to the editor,” which are targeted at the broader public).
It’s a scenario that you’ve likely encountered many times: The local paper runs a feature article about a building and includes comments from the developer – but there is no reference to the fact that there was an architect on the project that conceptualized the design and drew the blueprints. While this frustrating scenario is all too common, if approached properly, it can be an opportunity to educate the reporter so that the same mistake isn’t repeated in the future.
Before we discuss how to approach the journalist, it’s important to recognize several likely facts about the omission:
• Reporter specialty – In many cases, the reporter is not particularly familiar with architecture – or even real estate development. The editorial staffs are shrinking at most newspapers, and reporters are frequently tasked with covering several beats. In some cases, the offending article may be the only one the reporter writes relating to architecture or real estate over a period of several weeks or months.
• Communicated information – Many real estate developers provide reporters with press releases, which include much of the basic information about their projects. Frequently, reporters write stories based nearly entirely upon the press release – including mention of the architect if she is mentioned in the press release, but omitting it otherwise.
What both of these facts mean is that the reporter was probably not omitting the architect’s identity deliberately; chances are that he or she simply doesn’t understand the architect’s importance. With this in mind, the best practices for this sort of letter are clear:
• Choose judiciously – While every building has an architect, that doesn’t mean that every article written about a structure without reference to its architect should turn into a letter. Instead of flooding the inbox of a reporter after every offending article, only send a note when the omission is flagrant, e.g. if the building’s architecture is particularly noteworthy, or if the article focused significantly on the building’s design.
• Keep it educational – The article is already published, so the goal is to explain to the reporter why the architect is an integral part of the building process, so architects are included in future articles. Because most journalists have limited knowledge of architecture, be as detailed as possible, including not just the legal requirement of having an architect but the specific value and creativity that the architect brought to that particular building, what is architecturally unique and/or how it promotes safety.
• Offer to have a follow-up call – In addition to the obvious benefits of having a broader discussion on local architecture if the reporter accepts the offer, the offer itself drills home the point that you’re not looking to criticize the reporter because of an error they made; rather, you’re looking to provide them with your expertise to enable them to write more knowledgeably in the future.
Note that there are also several ways you can proactively go about making sure that you are given credit when your projects are covered in the media:
• Create a requirement in your contract: Including a requirement that all project publicity will mention your firm is one way to guarantee that your participation is acknowledged in the developer’s press materials.
• Provide a description of the project to your client: Giving your client an architectural perspective on the project will not only help them in their media outreach, but it will also ensure a proper description of the architectural elements of a project. In doing so, it is natural to include a mention of your firm in the description.
• Draft your own press release: Now that you know how to compose your own press release from a previous installment of “working with the media”, you may be able to “take the lead” on announcing the project, which means that you can control what specific details are being shared with the reporters. If the developer is looking to do media outreach, they may be open to collaborating with you on the press release, which would also mean that you will have at least some control of what details are being sent to journalists.
For more suggestions, refer to AIA Best Practices – Getting Good Press on the web at http://www.aia.org. Please note this is a password protected, member only website. Therefore, we cannot provide a direct link to the site for you. But you can find it under Practicing Architecture; Best Practices; Part 2 – Firm Management; Chapter 6: Marketing and Business Development. You might also find a lot of other beneficial material in this area of the website. You can also find samples of other quick responses here.
If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team
Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Co-Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee
PRACTICING IN THE NEW NORMAL
October 23 – 24, 2015
AIA NJ will be hosting the 2015 AIA NJ State Convention at the Hanover Marriott in Whippany from October 23 – 24, 2015. The two day event will include keynote addresses by Shirley Blumberg of KPMB Architects based in Canada, a retrospective of Michael Graves work and contributions to the field of architecture, Mike Michalowicz, author of the Pumpkin Plan and a discussion with Deans from leading Architecture Schools around the country.
Speakers will offer a broad range of topics from design to business administration throughout the two days. A Friday-only Trade Show will unveil the latest products and technology in the field.
Three tours have been scheduled: Hebrew Academy of Morris County , now known as Gottesman RTW Academy – Tour the newly renovated building complex that is a LEED building/complex designed by KSS Architects; World Headquarters of Wyndham Worldwide, both LEED accredited buildings designed by Gensler; and Craftsman Farms – Tour the Log House at Craftsman Farms, Gustav Stickley’s rustic country estate.
New this year will be the Design Awards Dinner where winners of the 2015 Design Board Competition will be announced and honored.
Mark your calendars now for the two-day convention that has the potential of 13 CEU credits. Network with fellow architects in the region and support AIA New Jersey.
To register, visit the event website.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) has two upcoming webinars scheduled for those interested in learning more about the newly launched ePlans. See more information below or go to www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/offices/ePlans.html
In our year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below is the third in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects and architecture.
Our previous installments of Working with the Media discussed ways in which you, in a personal or professional context, can begin to build a bridge with the editorial staff of your local or regional publications. This included some strategies as to how to introduce yourself (and your expertise) to the outlet, along with a brief guide for writing an effective letter to the editor. These techniques are useful in positioning yourself as an architectural expert and a go-to source for future pieces related to development, construction, and design.
But, announcing news of your own requires a more deliberate structure of information. This is where a written announcement, usually referred to as a press release, comes in handy.
The logic behind a press release is that it provides detailed, accurate, and controlled dissemination of information. A well-composed press release lists each of the necessary factual elements of an announcement, leaving little room for speculation or supposition – the who, what, when, where and why. In today’s ultra-fast-paced digital news world, it’s an especially handy tool for providing a journalist with the nearly all of the information they’d need for a story – all in one neat package.
Ultimately, you’ll have to employ what you know about the interests of a particular media outlet to judge whether your announcement might be “newsworthy.” But, most press release announcements for architects fall into a few categories:
• Major contracts
• Notable or innovative large-scale designs
• Anniversaries or other milestones
• Hiring, promotions, etc
Once you’ve decided to proceed with the press release, there are several rules of thumb that ensure that it’s well organized and digestible for a reporter:
• Length: A press release is designed for efficiency; your release should rarely exceed 500 words, and a simple one-pager is usually preferable.
• Messaging: The “inverted pyramid” model applies in press releases, which is to say that the most important points should appear first, while minutiae and contextual details should be included in the latter portions. For project-based announcements, latter paragraphs should reference building-specific information including size, cost, start date, finish date, function (program), owner, architect, contractor, funding source, project personnel, etc.
• Structure: Each release should contain a headline, date, location, contact information, and boilerplate information about your company. Examples of suggested formats can be found here.
• Voice: Press releases are written essentially as if they are news stories. Press releases should be based entirely on fact, written completely in the third person. In a previous entry in Working with the Media, we mentioned that press releases may, in some instances, be published as-is. A good litmus test is to read your press release and ask yourself if it could stand on its own as a news story.
• Include a quote: Typically, press releases will include a quote from the issuer somewhere after the lead paragraph. This is your opportunity to provide more subjective insight and interpretation.
In future installments, we’ll be going more in-depth into how to finesse the language within your press releases and how to properly tailor your announcement to a variety of press outlets.
For more suggestions, refer to AIA Best Practices – Getting Good Press on the web at http://www.aia.org. Please note this is a password protected, member only website. Therefore, we cannot provide a direct link to the site for you. But you can find it under Practicing Architecture; Best Practices; Part 2 – Firm Management; Chapter 6: Marketing and Business Development. You might also find a lot of other beneficial material in this area of the website.
If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team
Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee
East Coast Green 2015
Creating A Culture of Sustainability
Keynote speaker for this years event is:
Faith Taylor is a senior global executive with progressive record of achievements and significant experience in strategic planning, development of new and existing businesses, innovation and change management, P&L and brand management as well as marketing. Known as an expert in Corporate Responsibility, Innovation and Sustainability she has a broad experience to draw from.
She oversees the strategies and policies for Wyndham’s Worldwide corporate responsibility programs that includes, sustainability, philanthropy, diversity, wellness, human rights, responsible sourcing, ethics and governance. She developed and started the Wyndham Green program in 2006 and has overseen the Company’s external reporting, strategic plans, auditing/assurance and branding initiatives. In 2014, the Wyndham Green program reduced its carbon and water by 20% and 18% globally and 27% of its $2.1 Billion supply chain has met their Green criteria.
Additionally, she is Chair of the Sustainability Working Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council and Chair of the Board of Directors of the USGBC of New Jersey. She is a member of the International Tourism Partnership organizations where she has participated in setting industry standards like the Hotel Carbon Metric Initiative and policies. Wyndham is a recognized corporate leader working with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Obama Better Building Challenge in setting leading programs for the built environment.
During the day long ECG event session topics have a wide range of options for all angles of building sustainable:
• Green Building Risks & Rewards
• Developing a Green Building Master Plan
• Renewable Energy
• Green Materials for LEEDv4 & LBC Compliance
• Designing & Commissioning High Performance Building Envelopes
• International Green Construction Code
• Update on the NJ Code – IBC in New Jersey
During the event the AIANJ Top Ten Green Projects will be announced.
Submit your project to be considered for inclusion.
Still time to register. Sign up to attend TODAY.
This past week, I and many other architects from around the world gathered in Atlanta for the AIA National Convention. From continuing education sessions and tours to a huge expo floor and interesting keynote speakers, there was something for everyone. I met many people while there, a number were from NJ and the surrounding areas, there were so many wonderful conversations.
2015 AIANJ President
Registration open for East Coast Green 2015
Creating a Culture of Sustainability
June 17, 2015
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
at NJIT School of Architecture
AIA & USGBC Continuing Ed credits
Early Bird Deadline for registration June 1st
Practicing in the New Normal
Two Days of Seminars (earn up to 13 credits)
Three Tracks of Concentration
Two Keynote Design Speakers
One Keynote Business Speaker
Friday One Day Expo
Student Design Competition
Friday Design Awards Dinner
Friday and Saturday Tours
** However check back to learn more as it becomes available **
Design Expo Friday
Design Award Winners announced at the Friday night Design Awards Dinner.
Vendor speaking opportunities
Panel discussion with leading
School of Architecture Deans
Mark it on your calendars to come join us in October !
This week we are celebrating Architecture Week. In order to celebrate we are promoting an #archselfie campaign. This campaign seeks to acknowledge that certain individual buildings can have more personal meaning than others, and for different reasons. A new project can reinvent the way we use, see, or experience them within our community. Sometimes it’s their resilience, never changing or moving, that holds the meaning and represents something constant in our lives. Or, an existing building may have shaped our lives, or the lives of countless others that came before us.
Therefore, we will be celebrating architecture as a source of reinvention, recognizing the architect’s profound ability to impact an industry through design, a community through a building’s purpose, and the beauty of architecture itself through restoration and historic preservation. As a part of this campaign we are asking anyone to post “selfies” of themselves in front of any architecture they deem worthy: is it unique, is it meaningful, is it a place near and dear to your heart? Is it your home, school or office? Is it a place where you live, work or play, eat, sleep or pray? Whatever the reason, share it with others using the hashtags #archselfie #archselfienj archweek2015 & #iLookUp, because every building has an architect!
This year Architecture Week also falls on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13. While not educated as an architect, Jefferson is the only U.S. president to be recognized for his architectural affinity. Jefferson once said: “Architecture is my delight.” Is it your delight? Learn more about Thomas Jefferson here, or share other resources you have found about him.
Happy Architecture Week!