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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

    Yes, yes and yes in my case.

    In July 2018 I contacted the then plc Co. Sec. to request sight of draft 2018 AGM minutes, as work commitments precluded my attendance at said meeting. I was informed that draft minutes would be sent with papers for the 2019 AGM and not before. Now that the plc accounting period has been extended by 3 months I'm still waiting! To add insult to injury I am unable to attend the 2019 plc AGM so am therefore likely to remain similarly uninformed for another year. Same goes for last weekend's EGM.

    All this is in sharp contrast with WSRA's enlightened policy of promptly placing their equivalent information in the public domain for all to see, whether readers are in membership or not.
     
  1. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I have enquired of the person assisting the WSR plc with external communications how the result of the EGM may be communicated.

    It will be understood that, at present, given recent welcome changes which are still being worked through, the managerial / Directorial resource is stretched, and is particularly focussed on planning for 2020.

    Robin
     
  2. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    If only coaches had some sort of identifying number painted on the side to solve that problem
     
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  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    You know what I mean!!
     
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  4. Anne C-B

    Anne C-B Member

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    I don't regard that as an accurate report of what was said. The reality of the matter was that the only TV reporter I identified got bored quite quickly and left not long into the discussion phase of the meeting.

    The Penarth contingent convened to make the most of "Happy Day" in a local bar last night and our opinion was that the media presence was unwelcome.
     
  5. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Well, news and tv reporters often report what they see or hear - or think they did. They can be friend or foe.
    Some while ago an emergency service I was involved with frowned upon information being passed to reporters. Consequently little was given and they had, at best, report what they understood about the occurrence. Consequently moans were frequent about inaccurate reporting. Things now have greatly changed, new thinking has realised they could be friends not foe.
    Reporters, generally, unless they are from specialist press, are often not familiar with the ins and outs and jargon relating to the meetings they attend. I believe the lesson here is to help them along when they are there. Often a counter comment or attack (a speciality in West Somerset reporting it seems) can make the publics view biased usually in unfavourable.
     
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  6. 2392

    2392 Member

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    Indeed the media can be something of a "double edged sword". Speaking from experience you can say Black and they'll report White. Having said that if you get a good reporter who has their head screwed on the right way, they can be a boon for the railway. If not they could cause no end of harm for your Railway by unintentionally or otherwise misunderstanding a railway term/expression, or just getting it totally wrong.
     
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  7. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    In any small and PR-dependent business, having a good PR/marketing person who cultivates their relationship with all the relevant local reporters is very helpful. They rely on their contacts and have space (or time, for broadcasting) to fill; the business wants to get its message across to potential customers. Good reporters don't just grow on trees, and nobody has an innate understanding of business-domain terms; if you have a good relationship with the press, it's much easier to stop them unintentionally making mistakes.
     
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  8. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    I worked for a public body which was mis-represented and mis-reported by the local newspaper on a daily basis. It got worse as the circulation of said paper fell dramatically and headlines became ever more strident in the hope of attracting more sales.
     
  9. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    Shunting is potentionally dangerous rather than dangerous per-. sey. Keeping records is essential anyway . Whilst C&W keep records guards on th SVR will prepare a consist note and copy weight,type and number to the reverse of the journal
     
  10. Grumpy gramps

    Grumpy gramps New Member

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    A politicians answer
     
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  11. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I appreciate that Robin is showing a commitment to collective responsibility
     
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  12. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    That is no reason not to try to help the media get their story straight.
     
  13. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Public bodies, maybe because they rely on elections for their leaders, do tend to be very cautious about their image.
    A good business, with an equally good PR team, will be more focused on sales and profits and often have imaginative advertising.
    One noticeable thing with preserved lines is that few of their web sites are very imaginative and are much of a muchness.
    The WSR PLC web site is one of the better ones.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Ha! Ha!

    Then you know me not at all.

    Indeed.
     
  15. echap

    echap Member

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    I think it would be useful if some general idea of the EGM could be put on here. I get the feeling that there was positive news, with plans being put in place for the following years. Whilst some will find something to grumble about (more diesel services?), knowing a little more may show a real step up in planning to put the WSR on an even better footing.

    I know that is all not terribly well written but I cannot find a better way to express myself. Sorry.

    Ed Chap

    (still looking forward to my visit to the line later in the year)
     
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  16. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    An approved announcement is on the way. Plainly, in an ideal world it would have appeared earlier, but we need to cut the small team of WSR plc Senior management a little slack ATM.

    Robin
     
  17. Keith Sims

    Keith Sims Member

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    Same thing applies to ALL shareholders who were unable to attend the meetings before and after Christmas 2018. and the recent EGM. I too was unable to attend the recent EGM. Had I not followed NP I would have been blissfully unaware that the railway was in trouble at all. Share purchase may be seen as a "gift" to the railway, but the donors do deserve to be told OFFICIALLY what is happening to the organisation they have contributed to, not telling them is the best way of ensuring that their shareholding is not increased.
     
  18. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Many years ago I had to swap my engineer's hat for a more commercial/sales role for a couple of years, in order to keep ourselves in employment as work form within the organisation evaporated as the company underwent another round of closures. To help get our new outward-looking business off the ground, we employed a PR agency to help create an 'Identity' along with brocures, designing exhibition stands and, most importantly back in the 80s, getting us in the technical press. Back then, we got most of our info on suppliers from magazines and catalogues etc.

    The biggest eye-opener for me at the time was the majority of the seemingly impartial articles appearing in the trade press were not actually composed by the journals ace reporters, but were just reproduced from press-releases submitted by the subject themselves. Newspapers love well-crafted press releases as it saves them the time and effort of filling their pages themselves. Well-written and with suitably interesting photos, they will generally be printed without question.

    So by using targeted press releases, you can control the agenda, and better still, they'll come back asking for more if you get it right.
     
  19. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    So very true.

    In my 'Big Railway' training I attended a two-day press course.

    Day 1 was 'How to get positive stories in the local paper about British Railways as the local Station Manager'. We were taught a formula including a thoght provoking or punning headline, an opening couple of paragraphs, a quotation, a closing paragraph with a message, and all accompanied by a photograph which tells the story. I have re-used that formula countless times since. A glance at a recent story about the Council Chairman at the WSRA Rally on Steve Edge's site will show you 'the formula' in action.

    We were also taught to keep it all on one sheet of A4. (Easy to remember when we had to hand type it as this was the mid-eighties and personal computers were in their infancy, and certainly not provided to Station Managers. How DID we cope?) And to think of a bored journalist who would rather be on the golf course. (All analogies tended to be male in those days.)

    Day 2
    of the press course was what NOT to say in front of the camera or microphone against a background of a train on its side and bodies being removed. Fortunately I only had to use that aspect of the training a couple of times...

    Robin
     

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