Pavement Preservation Journal - Spring 2013 - (Page 31)

Enlist News Media in Battle for Pavement Preservation By Barbara Lezotte, APR PHOTO BY TOM KUENNEN U nless it’s a journalist who has covered infrastructure in depth, most reporters and editors know little about roads, highway funding, or even the difference between asphalt and concrete. Therein lies the challenge of informing the media, and by extension the public, about pavement preservation and why it’s so critical to the health of our national and local infrastructure. Fortunately, a new pavement preservation media outreach toolkit has been released that will make that job easier. Given the task of writing about our crumbling roads and bridges, most reporters have only a rudimentary knowledge, and therefore only scratch the surface of the issue. Roads are on the media’s radar but the coverage usually misses the mark explaining, perhaps even mentioning at all, why pavement preservation is such a key strategy in the long-term management of one of our most essential public assets. The responsibility for educating the media is falling squarely on the shoulders of industry, and the National Center for Pavement Preservation has stepped up with the necessary tools, all available on the NCPP and TSP·2 websites for member access. Pavement preservation meets the “newsworthy” challenge on several levels. It leverages public funds for the long-term benefit of all road users; it’s an innovative, environmentally sustainable approach; and it’s timely in this era of budget deficits and aging infrastructure across the country. In short, the media will be interested, but they need an assist to tackle the issue effectively. Journalists themselves have little Members of local broadcast media interview Tennessee DOT commissioner Paul Degges at the August 2012 pavement preservation demonstration held in conjunction with the National Pavement Preservation Conference in Nashville (see pp. 22-31, Winter 2012 issue); such events are tailor-made for outreach to local press time to research complex topics and they no longer have support staff who can do the legwork for them. To ever achieve public awareness on the need for pavement preservation, industry experts will need to take up the gauntlet and give reporters the information they need to cover pavement preservation. STAKEHOLDERS MUST ADVOCATE Like it or not, the media today is a “slimmed-down” version of its old self, lacking the many warm bodies and resources it had in the past to cover the issues of the day. It’s no wonder that some issues get little or no media attention, when a smaller number of reporters barely have time to cover breaking news adequately. To get news and editorial coverage of important issues, stakeholders need to be proactive advocates, essentially lobbying for the news coverage they believe is warranted. Just as public policy issues need advocates in Congress and state legislatures, critical issues also need to be advocated to attain media attention. Editors decide which issues deserve space or air time and they respond to the organizations and experts who make a compelling case for coverage. Although national media attention—stories in the Wall Street Journal or on CNN for example—is unlikely without a national strategic public relations campaign, local industry experts can tell the pavement preservation story in their own communities using the Pavement Preservation Public Education Toolkit. TOOLKIT SIMPLIFIES OUTREACH This toolkit contains all the resources needed to generate media Spring 2013 pavement preservation journal 31

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pavement Preservation Journal - Spring 2013

President’s Message
MAP-21: Pathway to Preservation at the Federal Funding Level
Cold-in-Place Recycling, Fiber Membrane and Seal Preserves Desert Highway
NCPP: New Online Tool Helps Measure Road Network Health
NCAT UPDATE: Axle Loads, Mileage Begin to Accumulate on NCAT Tests
NEPPP: Ribbon Cuttings Shine Spotlight on New Hampshire Pavement Preservation
TPPC: Micro Surfacing Training Offered at Texas Center
MnROAD Studies Pavement Preservation
Enlist News Media in Battle for Pavement Preservation
HIR Solves Cost Challenge to Runway Reconstruction
Shale Gas Boom Drives Town’s Bridge Renovation
Optimum Time for Slurry Seal Depends on Original Build Dat
Index of Advertisers

Pavement Preservation Journal - Spring 2013