Donna Balancia Creates Press Opportunity for NASA –
- A Roundtable of Community Leaders
News Notables of Beverly Hills President Donna Balancia was tasked with promoting the economic health of the Cape Canaveral area despite the loss of the NASA Space Shuttle Program and 11,000 jobs.
As the final Shuttle mission of Atlantis lifted off, already there were news reports emerging that Central Florida’s Cape Canaveral region would suffer devastating economic impact because of layoffs related to the end of the Shuttle Program.
Hospitality clients were already feeling the impact of the loss of jobs in the region. I felt if the media could hear our side of the story — from a unified perspective — it would stave off negative stories.
I conceptualized a community roundtable comprised of leaders from all aspects of East Central Florida’s economic base to present to the reporters and editors who were gathered for the return to Earth of Shuttle Atlantis.
My belief was to capitalize on the national media that was already on location in Florida including FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC National, LA Times, New York Times, NewsRadio and well-known space, tech and consumer bloggers. We would present the roundtable at the time the Shuttle Atlantis returned from its very last space mission.
I drew up a list of community leaders for this roundtable — I went to those who could dispel negative publicity in the wake of the end of the Shuttle Program and to show the world that the region is still economically sound and our destination is still the most beautiful place to vacation.
I called on area representatives to sit on the panel. I outlined and typed up the panel presentation and created a Powerpoint presentation including their backgrounds and qualifications so each panel member received promotional coverage.
I created bullet points and topics for the panelists including how the region would benefit from having Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center.
Each of the representatives on the panel discussed the future of business and employment from their respective points of view.
I wrote biographical information and introductions for the speakers, which the moderator used as introductory material for the presenters.
The event resulted in a windfall of publicity generated, including appearances on CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, Florida Today, FOX, local media including News 13 and others.
The project was done on a minimal budget and with the cooperation of Kennedy Space Center, whose staff provided the on-site room and stage for the event.