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Briefing for Regional Contacts

What is a Regional Contact?

A Regional Contact is a volunteer who acts as a voice for the PostgreSQL community for one region and/or language on the globe.

What do you need to be a Regional Contact?

  1. The ability to be publically available by e-mail and phone to reporters and external communities.
  2. A contact list of reporters, bloggers and interested communities in your area or the time to gradually assemble one.
  3. A little time to work on PostgreSQL PR on a specific schedule, especially around release time.
  4. Enthusiasm for PostgreSQL!

What do I have to do as a Regional Contact?

  1. Stay informed about what's going on with PostgreSQL database, project, and community.
  2. Subscribe to pgsql-advocacy mailing list.
  3. Help with translations of PR materials, if you speak a non-English language, via the address. Note that there are advocacy translators in addition to the regional contacts to help.
  4. Send out copies of PostgreSQL press releases in your region and language (see below).
  5. Answer questions from the press and local communities about PostgreSQL, and forward any questions you can't answer to the community leaders.
  6. Make sure that the worldwide PostgreSQL community is aware of what's happening in your country/region.
  7. Maintain an address, checking for questions and notices.
  8. Maintain a local contact list.

What other resources should I know about?



Check Account

Check this now. See that it's accessable, that the mailbox isn't full, and that if you've set up forwarding, it works. Reporters may contact you on a deadline as short as 3 hours; you need to be sure to get their e-mail in that time.

Check Your Contact Information

Check the most current Regional Contacts document available at the on the web site: Make sure it's correct and up-to-date. Make sure your phone number is correct.

Check Your Schedule

Make sure that you'll be able to respond rapidly to e-mails and phone calls the three days after the release. If not, see if you can find another volunteer to back you up.

Preparing the Release -- Release Format

Formal release format, which we adhere to in order to get people to read our message, works like this:

                              Contact Name
                              e-mail address
                              City & Country

DATE, PLACE: <body of release>

This means that you'll be inserting your contact information at the top of the release, and adjusting the date so that it matches the date you actually send the release out. Also check that the PressKit Link is in there, as: ... where "XX" is your language code.

Before The Release -- Embargoed Release

If you've been doing this for a while, you will have established relationships with a few reporters whom you can trust, and who have given PostgreSQL good coverage in the past. Example include Rodney Gedda in Australia and Ingrid Marsten in the UK.

This is a good thing. You should share the release with them up to 1 week in advance, soliciting these two promises from them:

1.That this is an "embargoed" release and they may not run stories on it until the release date;

2.That the release date may be postponed if we discover bugs, since this is open source software, so they'll watch for e-mail from you about changes in schedule.

The reporters, in turn, may want to arrange interviews with PostgreSQL developers or users. You should do your best, with the help of the community and, to arrange these. Remember that reporter's requests are NOT to be posted to public mailing lists.

You should remember the night before the release to send them an e-mail confirming that it's good to go.


When to Send It

The release will have an official release date and time in UTC. Those of you in East Asia and Oceana, in particular, will need to be careful not to send out the release a day early.

Make sure that you've received a final confirmation that PostgreSQL is going out before you send anything. Make sure that the PressKit in your language is actually up on the web site.

Press Lists: Who to Send it To

First off, people who share a language and a general area with several other Contacts (like Australia & New Zealand, or Argentina and Chile) need to contact each other and make sure you're not sending the release twice to the same contacts. This will annoy reporters and they may not cover us as a result. Josh Berkus will take care of international English-language news sources like CNET.

Second, you should send me a copy of your press list for the project records. This is in case we lose touch with you in the future and a new volunteer needs to take over.

If you're building a press list, you want to stick to reporters who are going to find our news relevant. Look for reporters who cover databases and open source software.

Keep track of e-mail bounces and update your press release.

How To Send It

Reporters receive a lot of spam. A LOT. So they have pretty strong spam filters, which means that you need to send an individual e-mail to each reporter. Long CC lists will tend to get your e-mail filtered out. If you have a really long press list, there is a Perl script on Pgfoundry which will automate the process.

You should use your address to send out the e-mail. You don't want to confuse the reporter when they hit "reply".


What to Say To Reporters

For your benefit, I and the folks on the Advocacy list have prepared a short "press FAQ".

It is at: | press_FAQ.txt (toward the bottom of the page)

It will be updated periodically, and gets put on the PostgreSQL web page.

But the most important thing about talking to reporters is:



A lot of reporters who cover OSS are very friendly and some are even part-time programmers. However, when they are calling you as reporters, they are not on the phone or e-mail with you to chat. They are there specifically to find out stuff to publish.

  So if you have something that's "off the record", don't say it to them at all!   

Jump on IRC and chat with your fellow PostgreSQL community members about it.

Here are a few things that should not be brought up, and if the reporter asks about them should be kept as short as possible:

      -- PostgreSQL community politics
      -- Intellectual property issues
      -- How bad MySQL is (this just makes *us* look bad)
      -- How much you hate SCO/Microsoft/Oracle/Java/whatever.
      -- The Gnu Public License
      -- When 8.4 or [name of feature here] will come out.

See the Press FAQ for ways to answer some of these questions. Finally, if a reporter asks you a question you aren't sure of the answer to,


E-mail and get help from other members of the community. Tell the reporter that you will get back to them.

Make sure the reporter knows that you're a volunteer and a member of the PostgreSQL community and not a paid PR person. They will generally be more lenient about any mistakes you make.

Commercial Entanglements

Most of you work for companies who do PostgreSQL support/services/products. It is perfectly OK for you to mention your company name to a reporter ... PROVIDED that you make absolutely sure to mention any and all other PostgreSQL companies in the region as well. Remember, you are volunteering to help the whole community.