Show us your Battlefords

The Battlefords Chamber of Commerce Action Battlefords initiative has hired Martin Charlton Communications of Saskatoon, a public relations and marketing firm, to further the Chamber’s goal of turning around the community’s reputation.

It was to be the last component of the three-part initiative to be launched, but has been slotted into second place for a couple of reasons. Step two, following promotion of Community on Patrol Program and Neighbourhood Watch, was to be programming aimed at youth. Action Battlefords isn’t ready to launch the youth programs, but in light of the airing of a feature on the Battlefords this weekend by CTV’s W5, the Chamber has stepped up their efforts to have provincial and national media shed a more positive light on life in the community.

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The City of North Battlefords Community Safety Co-ordinator Herb Sutton was cautiously optimistic at Monday’s meeting of city council that the program will not offer up the sensational negative tone that residents have come to expect for provincial and national media. Let’s hope he’s right, but even though the name of this publication contains the word “optimist,” past experience makes us wary.

The fact that the the show’s title is “Crimetown” adds a degree of validity to our wariness.

The good old crime severity index, sensational trials, water crisis and stories of that nature seem to be what draw other media to the Battlefords. They were here in droves for the Gerald Stanley trial (never mind that the incident that resulted in the trial didn’t occur here, but in a rural area near Biggar), but paid scant attention to the Saskatchewan Winter Games hosted shortly after the verdict.

It’s a rare thing to see or hear a positive news story about the Battlefords reflected in national or provincial media. It seems the “bad news” stories are the only ones that draw their reporters to the community.

So, in our wariness about the W5 feature, we can take comfort in knowing the Chamber will be working to have the Battlefords portrayed in a positive way. But we could also take the initiative as individuals.

The theme of a recent photo competition launched by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in collaboration with Canadian Geographicwas “Show Us Your Canada.”

The contest’s objective was to show the people of China the places and people that make Canada a unique and must-see destination to visit.

The contest drew 4,600 entries showcasing iconic places and people, in the process telling a visual story about Canada’s history, culture and everything that makes Canada unique.

Why not launch a similar campaign for the Battlefords? Search out contact points for provincial and national media outlets and bombard them with images and information that show the positive aspects of the community.

Or share them with the News-Optimistand we’ll post them at www.newsoptimist.ca, a site we know for a fact CBC monitors as they continue their tradition of scalping stories from our newsroom.

I’ve posted my entry to a new photo gallery called “Show Me Your Battlefords.” It shows our grandsons enjoying the new natural play park at Centennial Park. It’s the only one of it’s kind in the province. How’s that for unique?

I’m certain residents have similar images we could post.

 

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