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Community Outreach 61 Establish credibility--be honest and accurate, do not dodge controversy, avoid "no comment" responses, and return phone calls or emails promptly (remember that emails may become public). Assume everything that is said or written will be printed. If caught off guard by a question, provide a response as soon as the issue has been adequately researched and studied. Depending on the news, a press release may be a more appropriate way to get the message out to the community. A press release needs to be well written and concise--tips follow: Send in the release in advance of an event (at least 3 days). Provide a short summary at the top of the document. Put the most important information in the first paragraph. Keep the entire document to a single page. Use short sentences and simple language. Write in the active voice. Provide contact information. 6.4.3 Aviation Events An aviation event may be a way to invite the community to the airport and get the message out. It may also provide an opportunity to partner with local community groups in support of other organizations, such as a charity fundraiser. If some new generation GA aircraft are based at the airport, it might be appropriate to organize an "airport awareness day" around them. Events must be properly planned and executed if they are to be effective communication tools. A lot of work goes into a successful event, beginning with establishing a clear purpose. Some tips for event planning follow: Understand the purpose of the event. Set the goals for the event (e.g., number of people to attend and what attendees are expected to gain from it). Set an event budget and date. Select a location on the airport--consider capacity, lighting, parking, electrical supply, and restrooms. Set up a project timeline with tasks that must be accomplished by specific dates. Make an official announcement of the event and notify the media. Prepare and print promotional materials (e.g., brochures and invitations). Select a caterer, entertainment, and/or photographers if needed. Determine audiovisual needs. Review and sign necessary contracts. Finalize the agenda/program. Confirm with attendees. Prepare materials for the event (e.g., name badges and signage). Determine if any special licenses or permits are needed. Determine if traffic control is needed. 6.5 Timing of Community Outreach The best time for community outreach is before it is needed. Develop airport allies in dif- ferent groups, including community leaders, community members, and the media. Reach out early and often. Community support often comes from understanding and acceptance. Airport operators who only approach their communities when they need something usually find opposition. Operators who communicate regularly usually find support or at least a