December 15, 2003


 AVMA Answers

 Posted Dec. 1, 2003

What is the online AVMA Press Room and how can it help practitioners and veterinary organizations?

Michael E. Walters, director of the AVMA Communications Division responds:

In late March, we shifted almost all of our media distribution to the AVMA electronic Press Room,, on the AVMA Web site. We have press releases, fact sheets, background materials, select AVMA positions and policies, photographs of AVMA officers, and JAVMA News stories posted there. We also have prerecorded radio interviews—in the form of Wave and MP3 files—on a variety of topics. These range from selecting a pet, to various animal health problems, to how to care for animals, to topics related to the Animal Welfare Forum, and preconvention interviews with some of the convention speakers.

Our media guide, which includes press contact information for the state and local associations, specialty groups, and other, related organizations, is now exclusively available on the online Press Room.

The press kits for the Annual Convention and the Animal Welfare Forum were posted on the online Press Room, and reporters were notified by e-mail. We're contacting the press more and more through e-mail; it's more personal and we're getting instant feedback.

We've cut the costs of distributing our press materials substantially. We've saved a considerable amount of money by posting the media guide online, because we are no longer printing and mailing the 50- to 60-page booklet to media outlets and state associations each year. We're also not spending money on printing and mailing or faxing press releases, or mailing recordings of radio interviews. Hopefully, we'll be able to spend more on creating content for the Web site.

Having all these materials available online gives reporters an opportunity to do a lot of research before they call us for interviews with AVMA officers, convention speakers, or Animal Welfare Forum presenters. Additionally, print reporters can cut and paste quotes or information from online press releases directly into their stories, so we're getting fewer misquotes and more of our material is being used. Overall, the online Web site provides a better channel of communication between the reporter and the AVMA, and it makes us more efficient.

The online Press Room also is a nice, easy way for members, state associations, and the public to navigate information on the AVMA Web site. Members or state associations that are contacted by the media can access all the press material and related, recorded material we've developed. They can find contact information for the AVMA, colleges, and state associations, and a history of AVMA with a terrific timeline. This information can be a resource for state associations or practitioners who create their own newsletters, and it can help practitioners to develop materials for presentations in schools.

We plan to add more useful information to the Web site in the next year. We hope to be able to archive news clippings about the AVMA, online. We're also looking at adding more historical information about the profession to expand the public's knowledge of the scientific contributions that veterinarians have made, as well as creating some fun things.