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Businesses to Media: Be Positive ... Or Else 

Members of the Central Oregon business community apparently believe they can make the real estate slump go away if they just think positive - and

Members of the Central Oregon business community apparently believe they can make the real estate slump go away if they just think positive - and lean on the news media go along with their spin.

The Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA), the Central Oregon Association of Realtors (COAR) and the Bend, Redmond, LaPine, Sunriver and Crooked River Ranch Chambers are kicking off a public relations blitz based on the theme that this is the "Best Buyers Market in 20 Years" in local real estate. COBA has put together a "rollout kit" (downloadable as a PDF file on its website) that tells participating businesses how to do their bit.

It begins with a "to-do list" that instructs businesses to download an e-mail banner and posters from the COBA site, study up about the market and "be able to explain why it is a great buyers market," and "write up a phone answering script for your office" emphasizing that this is "the best buyers' market in 20 years."

But here's the good part: Businesses are advised to "write up a press release of a 'Good News' story, send it out and follow up with a phone call. Repeat Often!! This is key!! We have to produce enough 'Good News' stories to move the national 'wire' stories from the front page or the lead in story."

(See, if we can just push all those unpleasant facts off the front page, everything will be peaches and cream again.)

"Following the initial press release," the "rollout kit" continues, "each participating business will be responsible for releasing 'Good News' stories. These press releases will cover a variety of subjects predominately [sic] focusing on 'good news' stories and op ed opinions of all participating businesses. Each of the organizations should actively solicit 'good news' and 'actual fact' stories."

And now the crowning touch:

"Additionally each of the participating organizations are [sic] requested to utilize their advertising strength & partnerships to 'economically encourage' local media to print and broadcast the stories. ... Utilize your purchasing power. We all buy ads from the same entities who we want to pay attention to our press releases. Use your 'economic influence' from the ad sales side to help push your press release."

Translation: Threaten to pull your advertising if the newspaper/radio/TV station doesn't play ball.

Having spent more than a few years in the news business, The EYE can attest that no self-respecting editor reacts favorably when somebody tries to bully him or her into running a press release. In fact, the editor is more likely to tell him to stick his press release where the sun don't shine.

So that's our advice, COBA. Take it - no charge.

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