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Mundane Things at Your Utility May Not Seem So Mundane to the Media

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By definition, news is something that doesn’t happen every day, which is why “dog bites man” isn’t worthy of coverage but “man bites dog” might be.

But when you’re scrounging around for story ideas to pitch to your local media, you may be unintentionally limiting yourself when you think about your utility.

Yes, some of those things your utility does on a regular basis may seem boring and routine to you, but could be interesting to the public at large — and be worthy of coverage.

Let’s use replacing utility poles as an example. It’s something you do all the time and even your crews are probably bored with it.

But don’t underestimate the potential public fascination with the process.

You could first talk about where the poles come from, what kind of wood is used, how the pole is treated to protect from rot and insects, how tall it is, the average cost, how much it weighs and how long, on average, it will last before requiring replacement. And what happens to the poles that are replaced?

Remember that outliers are always interesting. If you have poles that were once made from an exotic wood, that could draw attention. So could poles that somehow date to the Theodore Roosevelt era.

Next you can talk about how often your poles are inspected and what that process entails. Add details about common reasons for pole failures (rot, impact from vehicles) and maybe some less common reasons that have occurred throughout the years.

From there, explain the replacement process, showcasing your equipment and how one pole is removed, the new one is added and how the wires are maintained throughout.

It seems kind of simple, but there’s a whole world of people out there who will say, “I wonder how they did that.”

The pole replacement is just one possibility. Surely, there are other things you do on a regular basis that might be worthy of a story, especially if there is a visual element.

Of course, you’ll need a strong media pitch — and there’s no guarantee of coverage — but on a slow news day, you never know.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 17, 2019 10:47 am GMT

Great idea-- surely the public will always be curious why something's happening if they see something happening to the poles or something else with their utility that doesn't happen everyday. Any opportunity to 'show off' the experts you have, the engineering tasks at hand, etc. is good-- even if you don't get media coverage, social media has made it easier than ever to show off these type of brag pieces

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