Press Release Roundup #8

By Erica C. Barnett October 6, 2009


1) The Seattle Chamber of Commerce issued a report today that it says shows that Seattle has become less competitive in the past decade. The evidence: while Seattle's population grew by 39,000, the number of jobs in the city declined by 8,000. Meanwhile, more jobs have moved to suburbs like Redmond, where taxes are lower. The report calls this evidence that Seattle the city is no longer competitive with the suburbs when it comes to attracting businesses. Therefore, they argue, the city should reduce taxes and repeal the head tax.

Although we don't agree with the Chamber's all-taxes-are-bad premise, we do like the fact that their press release comes complete with both highlights (for the attention-deficient) and detailed analysis (for the wonks). For example, where else would I have learned that Seattle has just 0.68 jobs per resident, while Redmond has 1.65?

We give the Chamber an A.

2) In contrast, Joe Mallahan's "economic recovery plan" doesn't contain much data or many new ideas. Mallahan announced today that he wants to continue to work on light rail north to Lynnwood and east to Redmond, promote transit-oriented development and freight mobility, repeal the head tax and ensure the safety of neighborhood business districts, and promote green jobs and jobs in low-income neighborhoods, among other things.

The plan is long and detailed but short on new ideas. For example, would any candidate be against "work[ing] with the Port of Seattle to help maintain its competitiveness moving freight and passengers through the region and beyond" or making it "easier to bring housing, jobs, transit and amenities together in vibrant neighborhood communities"?

In addition, the job-creation elements of Mallahan's economic recovery plan look an awful lot like the green jobs policy his opponent Mike McGinn released more than a week ago.

We give Mallahan a C.

3) Finally, the "No on 1033" campaign released its first two campaign ads. They focus on the fact that 1033, a Tim Eyman initiative that would limit tax increases to the rate of inflation, would reduce funding for health care and education. We like the ads, but what we're judging here is the press release. Given the fact that it's been picked up by nearly every media outlet in the city, we think it meets the definition of an effective press release.

We give the "No on 1033" campaign A.

4) Bonus Press Release, which I thought deserved an A but which Josh deemed too boring for video: Puget Sound Sage issued a release today highlighting the results of the group's survey of South Park and Georgetown residents, which found that strong majorities of residents in those neighborhoods believe Port of Seattle trucks in their area are making them sick and posing a danger to pedestrians.

According to the survey of 230 households, 63 percent of residents believe emissions from Port of Seattle trucks are making them sick; 56 percent believe truck traffic and poor truck management pose a danger to pedestrians and car drivers; and 75 percentwant the port to reduce the pollution, noise, and pedestrian and traffic safety hazards it causes.

The press release invites reporters to a tour of several pollution and traffic-safety hot spots in Georgetown, including the corner of Michigan and Corson Avenues, where Sage says Port trucks threaten pedestrians and rattle local windows, and Concord Elementary School, which is under air-quality monitoring by the EPA. All of the tour stops include interview opportunities with people whose health or safety is threatened by Port pollution, and Sage says reporters can attend any or all of the stops.

Sage's press release is effective for several reasons. First, it contains actual information from the survey, instead of just polemic; second, it includes lots of reporting and photo opportunities; and third, it gives reporters flexibility to spend as much or as little time on the tour as they want, which is important for time-pressed reporters.

I give Sage an A.
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