Produced by Lynn Hulsey

Group hopes to show ‘friendly face’ during debate

Message to media will tout region’s benefits.

A social media campaign and public relations effort is in the works as local officials prepare for the anticipated arrival of as many as 5,000 journalists and media support staff to the Dayton region for the Sept. 26 presidential debate at Wright State University.

The Debate Host Committee and the #DiscoverDayton16 campaign are both working to provide information to visitors about the region’s resources and its amenities.

“Our goal for #DiscoverDayton16 is to connect with the thousands of journalists who will be in our region for the debate and provide them with the resources they need to tell the region’s story,” said Cathy Petersen, campaign coordinator for the #DiscoverDayton16 committee and director of communications for Montgomery County.”It’s an exciting time here. And what a great time to tell our story.”

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Petersen said the campaign understands that some media looking for stories while in town may focus on regional problems like the heroin epidemic and the impact of the foreclosure crisis. The campaign will make sure they also know how the region is fighting back against those problems, and success stories like downtown Dayton housing growth and the Fuyao Glass America Inc. plant that opened in the former General Motors plant in Moraine.

Petersen said the committee is collecting the names and contact information on journalists planning to cover the debate and plans to pitch stories to them.

The county contributed $50,000 for the creation and management of a website for the campaign, which Petersen said will live on after the debate. A soft rollout on social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — has already occurred. The website will launch this month, Petersen said.

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The group consists of about 20 people from the Dayton and Montgomery County, Wright State, the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Dayton Development Coalition, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and others.

The debate host committee is chaired by Wright State University of Planning Robert J. Sweeney and about 35 members mostly from Montgomery and Greene counties is meeting regularly to talk about ways to present the community’s best face, said member Jeff Brock, president of the Greene Medical Foundation and board chairman of the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce.

He said the group is putting together a media press kit. Brock said the goal is to direct visitors to the “show a friendly face” and make sure media are aware of the “positive things” happening in the community, including aviation and entrepreneurial history.

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