USCCB News Release
May 4, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Blog, Twitter among forms of new media outreach
Social media expand department’s audience to include general public
Add depth and background to information distributed traditionally
USCCB MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE ENHANCES ITS MESSAGE BY EMBRACING NEW MEDIA
WASHINGTON—The Office of Media Relations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is enhancing its media outreach through various new media, including a blog and a presence on the micro-blogging site, Twitter. These outlets bring a new dimension to the work of Media Relations, making the announcements and statements of the bishops’ conference more immediately accessible to the general public, as well as the media.
The Twitter handle, http://twitter.com/usccbmedia, has over 900 followers and is maintained by Don Clemmer, Assistant Director of Media Relations at the USCCB. Clemmer uses the Twitter feed to drive traffic to USCCB news releases and other content that originates from the Office of Media Relations, to make the work of the conference more visible online.
Along with driving online traffic, the use of new media also allows the Media Relations staff to embellish the information they disseminate through traditional means.
“I use Twitter to say what I’d say if a reporter called to ask me what’s going on that day,” says Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Director of Media Relations, of her Twitter handle, http://twitter.com/sisterwalsh. This provides a slightly more insider view into the work of the conference, more than a news release or an official statement.
Mar Munoz-Visoso, Assistant Director of Media Relations who publishes the Latino-themed column Entre Amigos through the USCCB, uses the Twitter handle http://twitter.com/USCCBMarMunoz to publicize Spanish-language releases and content.
The USCCB Media Blog at http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com is another form of new media outreach for the USCCB Office of Media Relations. Also featuring contributions from Walsh, Munoz-Visoso and Clemmer, the blog’s posts vary in style and tone from informational backgrounder to op ed piece. In its first month online, the USCCB Media Blog has addressed several issues including clergy sexual abuse, conscience protection, adult baptism statistics, and the elevation of U.S. cardinals.
Supplementing the blog and Twitter, as well as their official online backgrounders, Media Relations has also added a feature to their Web page of informal backgrounders on topics currently getting exposure in the media. Called “Media Talk,” this feature at http://www.usccb.org/mr/mediatalk includes pieces by USCCB staff on issues including Latinos entering ministry and how or whether the economic crisis affects vocations to priesthood and religious life.