This paper is about media relations (PR) in the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Media relations have become an important part of the corporate world as well as the field of arts. Publicizing a cultural event also needs the support of media relations as they are sponsored either by companies or the government and need the publicity to get noticed at a local, national or global level. (Government of Australia, 2014) Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (EAFOL) is a UAE based literature fest which is the biggest form of celebration and gathering in the field of literature in all of Middle-East.
It has been going on for 6 years and this is the 7th year for EAFoL and it has only been increasing and scope and magnitude. This paper will provide an insight on the media and media relations aspects associated with the Emirates Airline Lit Fest. The event went on from 3rd March to 7th Match. It was crucial to track the media activity for an event because the hype for the event had to be generated in the media. The generated hype then resulted in more amount of people visiting the event and further expansion of the media coverage in all kinds of media.
The media coverage was spread over many popular forms of media. There are four mediums of coverage to focus for analyzing the media coverage of EAFoL: television, online media, print media and radio. Over all the mediums, the content was in a positive light showing the literature fest as a breakthrough for the readers as well as authors and as a beacon for the intellectuals.
The television coverage was wide and the story about the opening, ongoing activities and the awards that were given out at the festival. The coverage was of the Emirates Airline Lit Fest was observed on City7Dubai and Dubai One TV. Particular updates were found on the Emirates 24/7 show. This gave a huge momentum to the event when it was ongoing and would have provoked people to visit the event. The best way to promote an event on the radio or TV is to have a regular show aligned with the event. On the radio, tbe details and proceedings of the lit fest were discussed on the program “Talking of Books” which is broadcasted on the radio station Dubai Eye 103.8 FM station.
Articles regarding the literature fest were found in the Khaleej Times, Gulfnews and in The Gulf Today. All of these newspapers helped in publicizing the event. Due to the influence of modern mediums of media, there was a very high amount of media coverage found online. Online coverage was spread through news and media websites, YouTube videos as well as a myriad of social networks. In Twitter, there were 136 original posts related to the EAFOL15 hashtag which had a reach of 132,484 and impressions reached 497,428. (KeyHole, 2015) Twitter was one of the most prominent social networks in providing traction to the event due to its renowned intellectual user base. In Facebook, The EAFOL page has been liked by roughly 9,000 people. (Facebook, 2015)The website articles of the newspaper companies helped in the coverage of the event. A large amount of videos were put forward on YouTube regarding the event but they did not have a moderate or high amount of views. (YouTube, 2015) This was probably due to the fact that the type of people interested in the event would prefer other modes of media like print media, TV and social networks like Twitter. There was also coverage on international news websites like The Telegraph which was very positive. (Kantaria, 2015)
The coverage regarding EAFoL started a fortnight before the festival and also a week after the festival discussing the awards and highlights of the festival. (Bhaskar, 2014)All the articles had something positive to say about the festival. Some of the notable comments about the fest were that “it (EAFoL) carved a niche for itself rapidly”, “It is a ‘quill’ in Dubai’s cap”, and that it has become a significant cultural movement. (Qualey, 2015)
The media coverage could have been extended by introducing or promoting the festival in book-clubs, libraries and blogs related to book reviews. They contain crowds which would be interested in visiting the festival and any amount of increase in the people coming to the festival would mean a high amount of mouth-to-mouth publicity as well as online publicity to online media. If channels like BBC or CNN covered the event then it would have received international publicity.
The campaign lacked the means to gain traction on YouTube. This could have been made better by approaching a community on YouTube recognized as BookTube. This is an open and very broad-ended community with many readers and book-reviewers. This community is interested in literary events and if more people came to know about this festival on a global level or in the Middle-East, more people would have visited the festival. The coverage could have been extended further by inviting more authors which have a higher amount of following (this can be done by tracking the bestseller books in Dubai).
In this paper we explored the media coverage regarding the event “Emirates Airline Festival of Literature”. The publicity which was generated at the time of the event in different mediums of media were observed and analyzed in detail. This was helpful in reaching conclusions about how the publicity could have been extended and the personal suggestions about wideing the campaign to attract more people to the event. The coverage was found to wide and positive in all kinds of media but it lacked momentum at certain fronts. Suggestions were realized after observing the elements which lacked in the publicity of the event. This can prove to be a quality supplement to an individual interested in the role of media relations in a cultural event and how to promote it further.
Bhaskar, P. G. (2014, November 21). The ‘quill’ in Dubai’s cap. Retrieved from KhaleejTimes: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2014/November/opinion_November36.xml§ion=opinion
Facebook. (2015). Emirates Airline Literature Festival. Retrieved from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emirateslitfest?sk=wall
Government of Australia. (2014). Publicity guide – How to promote your community relations project through the media. Sydney: Govt. Of Australia.
Kantaria, A. (2015, March 9). What makes Dubai’s LitFest so special? Retrieved from Telegraph: http://my.telegraph.co.uk/expat/tag/dubai/
KeyHole. (2015, 3 21). New Tracking Capmpign. Retrieved from Keyhole.co: http://keyhole.co/preview
Qualey, M. (2015, March 12). Ahmed Mourad on Adapting Books to Film: Examine the Text ‘And Have a Conversation with It. Bargain.’. Retrieved from Arablit.org: http://arablit.org/2015/03/12/books-to-film/
YouTube. (2015). EmiratesLitFest. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EmiratesLitFest/videos?spfreload=10