MMA and BWI plan joint event at Miami show

The Marine Marketers of America and Boating Writers International are partnering on a joint program.
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Due to the changes to the Miami International Boat Show this year, the Marine Marketers of America and Boating Writers International are partnering on a joint program from 8-10 a.m. at Feb. 12 at the show’s Waterside Café and VIP Lounge.

Highlights of the joint meeting will include presentations to the winners of BWI’s annual writers contest, recognition of the MMA’s annual Neptune Award winners and a panel presentation featuring seasoned marine editors and publicists/marketers.

The joint event is free and sponsored by the National Marine Electronics Association, Freedom Boat Club and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The panel discussion, titled “How the Digital Revolution Has Changed What Editors Want From Freelancers and Marketers,” will address changes in recent years in the dynamic between editors and outside content providers.

Editors, long considered “gatekeepers” presiding over what gets published, face a daunting task as they juggle changes wrought by the digital revolution, downsized staff and a new generation of tech-savvy readers and content providers. Marketers and publicists who want their messages and stories published or picked up will have the opportunity to hear firsthand what editors expect.

To sort it out, longtime BWI and MMA director Michael Sciulla will moderate a panel of editors, freelancers and marketers/publicists, including Gary Beckett, owner/vice president of Turnkey Communications and Public Relations; Kevin Falvey, editor-in-chief of Boating; Marilyn Mower, editorial director-USA at Boat International Media; David Pilvelait, COO of Home Port Marketing; Jim Rhodes, president/CEO of Rhodes Communications; and Bill Sisson, editor-in-chief of Anglers Journal and Soundings Trade Only.

Before the event, Sciulla engaged targeted audiences online via marine forums and platforms, resulting in a lively debate. Some of the candid commentary included the following excerpts from journalists and marketers alike, according to a statement.

Phil Friedman, a former editor at Power & Motoryacht, says, “We’ve seen a growing emphasis on visuals, more compact copy structure and a trend toward what I call ‘social media style’.”

Videographer Ed Kukla hopes editors will provide guidelines for video content.

Rhodes says, “The 24-hour online news cycle has changed the game. … Now we’re seeing instant gratification.”

That said, not everyone is happy with the current state of affairs.

Mower says, “I can't believe the amateur or otherwise bad PR I receive on a daily basis.”

Custom publisher Brad Kovach echoed her thoughts: “Many of the story ideas/queries I receive are unimaginative, hackneyed, overdone ... just bad. Some are not, but for the person seeking paying work, the difference is crucial. Ideas need to be fresh and fully developed. Don't throw me topics; throw me fully formed pitches with new and creative thoughts, angles and perspectives.”

Boating magazine Editor-in-Chief Kevin Falvey put it this way: “In this era, an editor-in-chief's job is akin to playing multidimensional chess: Success demands more than simply operating on multiple levels. To win, an EIC must exploit the intersections between all the layers and levels — journalistic, business, technology, personnel and more — and in so doing deepen and widen audience engagement with the brand and its extensions.”

Although editors have pet peeves, freelancers are equally frustrated.

Current editor and freelancer Stephen Blakely says, “Editors increasingly depend on freelance, especially as their overlords continue to throw paid staff over the side to escape salary/benefit costs. Seems to me editors tend to have their own stable of freelancers and keep the barn door shut. I would suggest editors keep their eyes open to new talent and at least have the courtesy to reply to qualified pitches, even when the answer is no.”

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