COMMUNICATION: We Talk To Ourselves

Published on June 20th, 2013

By Glenn McCarthy
Just like the mentally challenged guy standing on the street corner talking to himself, we in the sport of sailing talk to ourselves. Most event hosts don’t bother with press releases, write stories or even get the results on a website, or with great delay getting them up on the website or sent out by an email blast. Step back; when the sport does communicate — seemingly doing it well — just who do its organizers speak to? Who do they target? They target you and me, the sailors.

We only talk to ourselves. We talk to ourselves through newsletters, email, websites, magazines, etc. Almost nothing we do ever gets any press coverage outside of sailing media or our little street corner. When do we get press? Strictly Sail Chicago, Chicago In-Water Boat Show, Michigan City Boat Show, and the Chicago to Mackinac Race. With thousands racing on Lake Michigan, and tens of thousands more pleasure sailing, the general public has almost no idea that sailing exists!

When I was a lad, sailboat race results were published the next day in the Sports Section from all yacht and sailing clubs in the Chicago region in the three big daily newspapers (Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun – Times, and the Chicago Daily News). People who didn’t race would call you or tell you they saw your name in the news paper. We did reach out t o the non – sailing public with this effort. Now when we go to the papers with a story for them to publish, as infrequently as we do, they wonder if the story belongs in the Sports or the Lifestyle Section. Eee gads.

Are we bringing the media to be involved? Do we invite the media out for a race as crew, whether the media representative works in Radio, TV, or Newspapers (don’t get tangled up that the internet is the only thing today, it is just another arm of the octopus to deal with, and those writers need to be included, too)? As sporting event hosts, we don’t dig into the human interest stories, write them down, and get them published in the newspapers. What are we doing to get sailing into the mainstream media? How are we going to get off the street corner and start getting everyone in our towns and cities to hear our story? – Read on (page three)

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