The notification of a marine reserve application begins a statutory two month period of public consultation. During this period you have the opportunity to be highly visible in the media, to run meetings, meet with interested parties, assist people in understanding the application, respond to objections and concerns, and win support in the form of submissions.
Before beginning this crucial period, it is important to have a carefully prepared communication plan: who will do what tasks, how will you work with media, what information will you have ready, what meetings will you attend or host, and who do you need to engage with that you have not already reached.
During this statutory consultation period, the game often changes. People who have not previously engaged with you come out of the woodwork and become active and vocal with their views and concerns about the application. As in your earlier consultation efforts it is important to respect these views, and be prepared to answer these questions and challenges in a positive and non-argumentative manner.
All previously mentioned aspects of how to engage and consult with you community are relevant to this final two month period.
Your notification date for a marine reserve application is a golden opportunity to hold a meeting and press conference to mark the occasion. This is your big chance to get the message across.
On this date, as part of the process, you are required to advertise the notification in local and regional papers, and to send a copy of the application to all those living near the proposed marine reserve. You also begin a two month period of receiving submissions on the Application document. There are strict guidelines around receiving these submissions and your responsibility to prepare a report to the Minister answering objections. You have one month to prepare this report. These procedural matters are covered in the section entitled, Formal Application.
Introduction to Media and Publicity
One of the keys to a successful campaign is to establish a good working relationships with your local media. Another is to ensure that your message makes it into the public eye. To obtain and demonstrate widespread public support for your marine reserve application, you have to cultivate an awareness and interest within the community. The potential of social and conventional media to reach thousands of people with your message and information is great and should not be overlooked.
At the bottom of this page is a list of documents and download links which contain examples and guidelines for your media planning and program. There is a very useful guideline/checklist prepared by the Department of Conservation on building a positive media profile; Making It With The Media
Use this guide as your basis – it includes detailed practical advice on every aspect of publicity work from press releases to radio interviews.
For this aspect of your campaign, you should work with a contact person in the Department of Conservation, who will have some experience in this area. Keep in close contact your local conservation organizations. They will likely support your application and may be able to give you some guidance or assistance in this area.
Working with Media Resources