Israel writes, produces, distributes and advocates for more press releases than all of the Arab World combined. That should be shocking but most Arabs don’t even know what I’m talking about.
By Ray Hanania
For the average person, this doesn’t mean much. But in terms of the bottom line, it could make a significant difference in the war between Israel and Palestine and help lay the foundation for a Palestinian State.
PR News Wire is a service that is the world’s leading distributor of press releases to the mainstream news media.
Clients — who might be activists and advocates for good and bad causes — pay to have their press releases distributed by PR News Wire.
It’s an important service because the name PR News Wire has strong name recognition in the news media industry. And when news media including newspapers, broadcast media and the online media receive a release from PR News Wire, they take it serious.
The alternative way to distribute a press release is to send it by email to selected reporters and editors who are inundated with so much email chances are the press release email will end up in the journalist’s spam or junk file. That’s where junk that never gets read ends up before being deleted and sent to that jam-packed garbage can of unread information int he sky.
Arabs don’t get that how you present information is more important than even the information that you present. I’ve spent a lifetime banging my kiffeyeh against the Wall of Arab apathy towards smart and strategic communications strategy — or should I call that “Wall” a “fence?”
They don’t understand.
For example, just today I decided to scan PR News Wire’s releases. The professional distribution agency gets thousands of releases every day, but you can search them using key words.
I searched first using the word “Israel.”
So far today — and this number will continue to rise until midnight tonight — there were 22 press releases distributed by PR News Wire that include the word “Israel.” The releases ranged from politics, to government propaganda to business releases touting their Israeli-based or focused efforts.
There were more than 29 press release distributed on PR News Wire yesterday with the same key word, “Israel.” And there were even more before that. In fact, every day going back for months and I bet even years, there are several dozens of press releases released each day that address some aspect of politics, business or society that involves “Israel.”
In other words, editors at newspapers, broadcast and online news media around the world have received these press releases in a professional way underscored as “important.”
You know what I did next, of course. Yes. I typed in the word “Palestine” to see what would come up.
There was one release distributed on February 3 put out by the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy that was promoting information and details about its upcoming March 18, 2016 conference on the influence Israel has on American life.
And then it’s dry for a while before that. In fact, the next press release that mentioned “Palestine” was released on January 30, 2016, three days before, from the United Nations.
And three days before that, there were three press releases that mentioned “Palestine.” There were two more on Jan. 23 and Jan. 16.
That pretty much explains why Israel doesn’t seem too worried about criticism of its bad behaviour and poor human rights practices against non-Jews in the Occupied West Bank.
Press releases are like a formal and effective form of lobbying that impacts the news media, which molds the education and knowledge of people like American voters, who elect people to decide whose side America should be on, Israel’s side or Palestine’s side.
They often also include photographs, probably the most essential aspect of a press release. Most humans tend to look at pictures, not a lot of grey words.
Sadly, most Arabs don’t even know the fundamentals of a press release. They don’t know how to write one that is effective in conveying their message and their goals. If they don’t know how to write an effective press release, why would I think they would know the importance of the PR News Wire in terms of achieving their realistic but handicapped goals?
But what most Arabs do is pretty much scream into the wind. Maybe it makes them feel nostalgic or something. Maybe it makes them “feel” like they are doing something to help Palestine, when they are not.
They protest and hold demonstrations. But only those people within earshot of the protest actually have a chance to understand what the protest is actually protesting about. And in a real sense, probably only 10 percent might agree, 10 percent might disagree and 80 percent will ignore. Protests are not an effective way of convincing anyone to support what you want, especially without proper publicizing of the event or professional PR.
The fact is if you can’t put your money where your mouth is, what comes out of your mouth is worthless.
Yes. Read that again and commit it to memory.
Until Arabs recognize the true power of strategic communications and public relations (PR), Palestine will remain little more than a fading poster in the minds of many angry Arabs. They’ll have something to scream about, although it will amount to far less than it can.
Activism without strategic communications is self-fulfilling futility. It goes nowhere, especially against a foe that has turned Strategic Communications into a critical industry.
When will the Arabs ever learn? Probably never.
When will we have a Palestine State? When the Arabs finally learn.
I’ve written a book about all this. But why should you buy it if strategic PR is meaningless in your life?
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia as the Special US Correspondent for the Arab News at www.ArabNews.com, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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