Earlier this week I received an email from my mom (who is fondly nicknamed “Bird”) with the subject line: “A – the eagles are in danger, can you help???” As my team here in Cleveland knows, my mom is an avid eagle enthusiast who is obsessed with watching the first bald eagle family to nest in the Pittsburgh area in over 250 years via webcam. The webcam across the street documented the three eaglets being born, the mom chasing a raccoon from the nest, and an owl picking on mom as she slept. You can view the eagles on the webcam by clicking here.
The danger to the eagle family? Rat poison. An abandoned recycling center across the river from the eagles’ hunting territory was overrun with rats – thousands of them apparently. The company that purchased the center said the health department was forcing them to use rat poison to eradicate the rats. The problem with this is that eagles eat rats! Webcam viewers had seen them eating three rats in the past week alone. If the eagles consumed rats that were poisoned it could kill them with the eaglets especially being at risk. I spoke to a few sources including the owner of the Facebook group Save Hays Eagles (a group my mom and I belong to) and decided to take action by issuing a press release via none other than PR Newswire.
I quickly drafted a press release titled, “Save Hays Eagles: Pittsburgh Bald Eagles at Risk Due to Rat Poison Presence,” and consulted my boss for editing. He kindly reminded me to include hyperlinks within the first paragraph, which drove traffic to our group’s Facebook page and provided further information around the cause. Once I received content approval from my contact at Save Hays Eagles, I downloaded a high res photo from a local Pittsburgh photographer who has been photographing the eagles for over a year, uploaded it to the Media Studio within the Online Member Center, and just moments later, the release hit our wire.
Earned media from local news
The media contact at Save Hays Eagles received numerous calls and four requests for media interviews, including an on-air appearance for Pittsburgh TV to discuss the issue.
Social engagement with key audiences
Increased visibility for our message
- Over 309 websites had reposted the content
- The release received 421 click-throughs
- 2,145 total online & search views
- 817 photo views
- A total Visibility Index of 99 and an Engagement Index of 99
Two days later, it was reported that a safer alternative to the traditional poison used to kill rats will be used: http://wesa.fm/post/health-department-tries-terminate-rats-not-eagles-pittsburgh
Local residents will likely be monitoring the situation and keeping a close eye on their eagles via the webcam. You can rest assured my mom will be one of them!
Author Amanda Meriwether is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter.