GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 9, 2013

The Mayor's Desk: Gloucester in media limelight

The Mayor's Desk
Carolyn Kirk

---- — From wind power and the maritime economy to the Harbor Walk and diversified fisheries, Gloucester has been the subject of much media coverage over the past year.

The city is truly fortunate that outlets like National Public Radio, the Boston Globe editorial page, the New York Times and most recently the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams see fit to cast a spotlight on our achievements, challenges and aspirations.

Sharing Gloucester’s stories with regional and national audiences serves a very important purpose. By telling a story outside traditional Gloucester narratives, especially our recent emphasis on diversifying our port economy, the city is able to promote business opportunities for our working waterfront and the community at large.

For Gloucester, the value of positive media coverage is priceless. We experienced this with what was called the “PR for Gloucester” campaign. Tourism businesses in the community passed the hat and raised money to promote Gloucester as a destination. The result was coverage in publications ranging from USA Today to Coastal Living.

We are taking that lead and promoting our economic development efforts. Articles like the recent New York Times’ piece on the fisheries crisis provide an opportunity for the city to promote our vision of expanded maritime opportunities on the working waterfront. In the case of the Times’ coverage, the city was featured (briefly on Page 1 and prominently on two-thirds of page at the top of the National News section) before an audience of nearly one million readers. This audience includes investors, venture capitalists, innovators, technology gurus, life science industry leaders and cultural trendsetters.

Press coverage about the city had a direct benefit on the recent Maritime Summit. Many of the 150 people who registered for the sold-out event heard about it via promotional efforts picked up by outlets like Boston.com and BostonInno.com.

The stated purpose of hosting the Summit was to connect regional and national maritime stakeholders to our waterfront. Pre-summit media coverage fueled that effort, setting the stage for any number of future business opportunities. In fact, there are a number of leads that businesses are reportedly following up on as a result of the Summit.

Even less visible media opportunities play a key role in telling Gloucester’s story. The maritime industry publication Sea Technology recently offered the city the opportunity to submit a feature-length article about the community’s efforts to expand maritime economic growth.

The article, which depicts our working waterfront as a hotspot of collaboration poised to accommodate new ventures, reached readers in more than 110 countries. Through just one article, key industry leaders in a range of fields, including oceanographic research, fisheries management, undersea defense, and commercial diving were exposed to our community and our efforts to attract new, compatible businesses.

Gloucester cannot expect to always be at the center of media attention, especially in terms of positive coverage. We can never control all the headlines as much as we would like to but the best thing the community can do is to continue bringing our successes to light and promote stories focused on our resilience, our strength and the limitless opportunities our community has to offer.

With each positive article, we will continue to share the most important message of all: Gloucester and the working waterfront are open for business, now and forever.

Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.