Press Release Process

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at
Wed May 3 09:31:27 EDT 2006

Peter Moran wrote:
> Nice job running meeting Mike.
> One of my tasks was to define press release process.  Draft wiki is at
>  Please add your
> thoughts and experience.
> I am looking into cost and logistics of using Autodesk's Newswire
> account to distribute releases (no promises).  I'm also looking into
> getting a list of around 100 journalist contacts that we've gathered to
> seed the osgeo-news-publisher list (or invite them to join the list)
> that Daniel or someone proposed.


For steps (3) and (4) (review and approval) I would suggest they be
done at the same time to avoid too much lag waiting at each step.

It is hard for the board to take a formal action by email since we
need to have every board members agree in writing.  So my suggestion
would be that the release be distributed to the board at
and dev at mailing lists, (at the same time
it is sent to legal counsel) and that they be given two business days
to comment.  Any objection to the release from anyone on viscom or
the board would result in it being held for formal approval by the

Are you considering designating a press release czar?  I think it would
be helpful to ensure the process is followed through properly and that
some reasonable degree of consistency is maintained.  So while the
original proposer would write the initial text, the czar would possibly
do some editing (with the agreement of the proposer) and would ensure
the process is followed.  Hopefully with a good written process in the
wiki there would be a few folks on viscom who could act as czar as needed.

I presume VisCom will be developing a standard "about OSGeo" chunk?

I think the process should include adding the press releases on the
OSGeo news site, possibly in their own queue.

By the way, for now I think it is good to run the press releases by
Rich as our legal counsel.  In the longer term though it might be desirable
to distill some of the legal issues to watch for into the process page and
get to the point where the czar (backstopped by objectors from the board
and viscom) can validate the release for legal issues.  For now we are very
fortunate to have access to a contributed legal counsel, but in the longer
term we must expect to have to pay for such services and we wouldn't
necessarily want a half hour charge for each routine release that goes out.

BTW, are press releases normally issues in ASCII text?  HTML?

Also, should the process discuss PR translations?  I believe it was
suggested earlier that we *not* necessarily wait for translations before
issuing a PR and I would agree with this.  Translations can add quite a bit
of lag.  They also are hard to vette.  But if we can identify some interested
news agencies (perhaps in Germany, or Brazil?) and some volunteers it would
be desirable to offer translated press releases.  If not that, then at least
to offer translations on the web site.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at
light and sound - activate the windows |
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGF,

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