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80 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports of the many valuable uses of the airport such as air ambulance, firefighting, aerial agricultural spraying, search and rescue, and law enforcement. Other commitments to the community might include the safe operation of the airport, support of a full range of aviation activities including medical transport, business access, cost-effective management of the airport, and community compatibility. Airport management should be aware of community needs and strive for envi- ronmental stewardship by minimizing the impacts and intrusion of noise, planning for compat- ible land use development, and being a "good neighbor." An airport can enhance the image of the community by providing first-class facilities. An airport manager should actively engage in community outreach. Presenting an airport pro- gram to local civic organizations is an excellent opportunity to interact with the community and instill pride in the community about the many benefits of the airport. Another way to reach out to the local community is through the schools. Bringing young people to the airport for tours or other aviation programs is a rewarding way to educate the community. Other activities should be explored as well, such as holding an Aviation Career Day at the local high school. Media Relations An airport public relations program must address dealing with a variety of media sources. Airport representatives may benefit from establishing a liaison with local print, television, and radio media outlets. The airport manager is the ideal point of contact with the media and will likely be the most informed and authoritative speaker on airport issues. It may be advantageous to be proactive with the media in reporting airport news. A positive relationship with media representatives and reporters through personal contact will help the air- port manager deliver publicity to the public and determine what is newsworthy. Preparing press releases for a newsworthy event or action will generate interest and help ensure that accurate news is reported. In preparing news releases, the airport manager should be factual and concise. The AOPA has a variety of guidance materials and examples of press releases available. Public Relations Public relations is primarily about communication. Marketing, advertising, and community relations are all linked to communicating what the airport is and does that may affect the pub- lic interest. Understanding the airport's role in the community and the social and economic impacts of the airport will help the airport manager communicate with the public. Effective pub- lic relations programs will communicate the mission, vision, goals, and values of the airport. Perception of the Airport in the Community A positive perception of the airport in the community is a valuable thing. Airport managers should take time to research the community's opinions about the facility. All too often vocal opponents of the airport will view it as a place for hobbyists. Community leaders and elected offi- cials will sometimes view the airport as a noise-generating "playground" for recreational users, and therefore expensive and unneeded. A solid public relations program that involves the com- munity will help educate the public on the value of the airport to the entire community and will help counter negative public opinions. Public relations should not only focus on public opinion but also on political action. Elected local, state, and federal officials often make decisions on issues that affect airports. Building