Thursday, December 20, 2012

President's Message - December 2012

President's Message

Christmas time in Jamaica is typically characterized by the assembling of families and friends; rekindling of relationships that may have been strained throughout the year; sharing of joy and love and most important of all, the gift of giving. It is my wish that as the PRSJ family celebrates the season we experience these things that make us truly Jamaican.

We don’t have snow but we surely can have breadfruits roasting on an open fire. Santa Claus will definitely not be going down chimneys but smiles we definitely can make. Let us reach out to each other this Christmas by calling or writing a member you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. As we go about, let us remember the persons who are in need and offer where we can. And for those in need of comfort, reach out and lend a shoulder or a listening ear (real or virtual).

As we live in this time of “Great Expectations” we know not where our paths may take us, however we must continue striving to uphold the good customs of Public Relations. As 2013 fast approaches, pushing 2012 into the annals of history, we must continue maintaining the high standards of the profession, employing new strategies  where necessary to enhance our service delivery to our clients and employers.

As the New Year approaches I entreat us to embrace the technologies and new media platforms that are emerging. Each of us should have a twitter handle, a facebook page, a linkedin profile or any of the other myriad social presence that now constitutes the social media landscape. Our clients and employers are moving to, or have already, embraced these technologies as they seek to stay in touch with their publics. It is incumbent on us to do no less!
The challenges are there but we have always provided the strategies to overcome them. Allow me to hope that 2013 will be no different.

To you PRSJ family,

Merry Christmas and a most productive and rewarding 2013!
Chris Benjamin

Rating of events under discussion in Jamaica - Dec 2012


State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Damion Crawford (right) discusses with Senior Brand Manager, Grace Foods, Suwannee Stewart (left), a point that she had raised during a consultative meeting on events rating, while LIME's Events Manager, Nathaniel Palmer listens in. Held at the Ministry in Kingston on December 17, the discussions are aimed at developing clear guidelines for events rating in Jamaica.

 Once again on the table are discussions that are geared towards bringing a greater degree of corporate social responsibility into Jamaica’s entertainment industry. This through the introduction of an event rating system in addition to an entertainment registry and amendments to noise abatement regulations. The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment through its Entertainment Advisory Board, expects that the rating system will allow prospective sponsors, patrons and residents to influence or discern the nature of events from the planning stage, and allow sponsors and partners to have a say in activities that can affect their brand, and for residents, the comfort of life in their communities.
If adopted, the rating system will impact the wide range of events that are staged daily across Jamaica. Many of these events impact life in normally quiet, rural communities.

Headlining these discussions are large outdoor musical events, but spoken word events, food and film festivals; art and craft fairs and shows; dance parties; theatre and sporting events will all be affected.
In 2005, an initiative by corporate marketing executives in the telecommunications and alcoholic beverages industries sought to calm the stageshow space following public outrage from reports of unlawful behaviour by entertainers at musical and spoken word events – some of which were co-promoted by public  sector organisations. The arrests which followed soured relationships between entertainers and the police.

That move received a supportive response from government, and led to a period of voluntary self-regulation by the largest promoters and sponsors - under guidance from the police, and the parish councils.
This 2012 move is expected to result in a Cabinet note proposing that event promoters must secure an event rating from the relevant parish council, in addition to the event license and permit now required. The rating will be based on three broad categories: references (to alcohol, drugs, sex and violence and tobacco); actions  (language and nudity); and cost and type of marketing. The rating range would start from being good for all audiences (G), to being heavily restricted for mature adults only (R ). The proposal will recommend that the named promoter be sanctioned for breaches of the rating, even if committed by employees such as musical and spoken word artistes, disc jockeys and MCs.
This ratings system loosely follows the movie ratings, as applied by the Cinematographic Authority, and the broadcasting Children’s Code.

The current discussions include marketing executives representing major event sponsors, and the Jamaica Alcoholic Beverage Association. Other stakeholder meetings are being held with media practitioners, promoters and event planners, including the PRSJ.

The Entertainment Advisory Board gives guidance on making the industry more effectively organised and productive for development.  The Chairman is businessman Kingsley Cooper. Members include: musician and educator Ibo Cooper; musician Desmond “Desi Roots” Young; theatre practitioners Christopher Daley and Dahlia Harris; businessman Charles Campbell; promoters Sharon Burke and Ricardo Chin; gospel artiste/ businesswoman Dr. Carlene Davis; media marketing executives, Brian Schmidt and Roger Allen; filmmaker and festival organizer Justine Henzell; business executive Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart; recording artiste / businessmen, Orville “Shaggy” Burrell, Jeffrey “Assassin” Campbell and Patrick “Tony Rebel” Barrett; media and communications academic/ businessman Dr. Dennis Howard; and attorney-atl-law, Kerry-Ann Heavens.

State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Damion Crawford (left) presses home a point as he chairs a consultative meeting on events rating at the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment ON Dec 17, 2012. Listening keenly are (right - left) Head of Corporate Relations at Diageo, Marguerite Cremin; Noel daCosta, Chairman of the Jamaica Alcohol Beverage Association; Director, Entertainment, in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Tafari Burns; and Senior Director of Entertainment within the Ministry, Gillian Wilkinson-McDaniel. The meeting forms part of the series of consultations being held by the Ministry as it moves to better regulate the entertainment industry.


PR Brief Newsletter December 2012

PR Brief of December 2012

Cover artwork uses courtesy of the National Gallery of Jamaica: French Set Girls by Isaac Menzez Belisario (1837-1838)