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Think Locally, Act Visually: Using Multimedia to Inform, Engage, and Educate

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Abstract:

24-hour news channels, streaming video, interactive websites. How is a utility supposed to compete? By meeting the public where it is. Utility management knows all too well what they do isn't always high profile (like a road or a park) unless there is a problem. But for a public dealing with information overload, getting through with a positive message about the expertise and cost that goes into treating water and wastewater can be challenging. By turning to multimedia, such as compelling websites and video, utilities can have a better shot at reaching the public and sometimes their own employees. This paper will highlight some utilities that have used video and/or interactive websites to help target their audiences in the way they are used to receiving information. Some of the examples include a video on the water treatment process shot at a local plant aimed at school age children and their parents in the community and a flyover video of a reservoir and dam project. It will look at the process behind planning a multimedia piece and determining when and where to use it. Whether it is part of an overall communications or outreach strategy or a stand-alone piece to highlight a project, multimedia can bring together a utility's key messages with strong visuals to create an attention-getting piece. Plus it gives a utility an undiluted forum to promote itself to the public it serves in the way it is fast becoming accustomed to receiving information.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864706783789851

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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