Hero photograph
Mayor of Launceston Albert van Zetten, Joyce and Phil Ogden
Photo by Mayor’s personal assistant, Alison Flood


PP Roslyn Teirney, Assistant Regional Public Image Coordinator —

Public Image Chairs in clubs and districts are charged with the responsibility to tell our Rotary stories and are specifically called upon to highlight Rotary’s role in eradicating polio.

Article by PP Roslyn Teirney, Assistant Regional Public Image Coordinator

When District 9830 End Polio Now Chair, Past Assistant Governor (PAG) Marion Cooper, phoned me in late March to say two South Launceston Rotarians were planning to fly to Western Australia to ride across the Nullarbor to raise awareness of and funds for the Rotary Foundation’s End Polio Now campaign, straight away I called PDG Bob Aitken, who is Zone 8 End Polio Now Coordinator, and the power of Rotary Zone 8 networking kicked in.

District 9830

You may be interested the read “the story so far” of this public relations campaign, as it serves as a strong case study of the team approach to Rotary marketing.

PDG Bob Aitken requested background details so he could put together a professional media release and all stakeholders submitted contributions and reviewed Bob’s compelling words. At the same time, District 9830 Photographer Rod Oliver was asked to take a photo shoot of the cyclists, Joyce and Phil Ogden, of the Rotary Club of South Launceston.

The shoot couldn’t happen until Joyce and Phil were able to obtain End Polio Now apparel so that the photo issued in the media kit was correctly and strongly branded. President Harry Galea asked at Rotary if anyone could lend the shirts but no one there could help. Rotary networking to the rescue! Rod had seen PP Winston Quaile from a nearby Rotary club wearing End Polio Now clothing to the recent film The Duke. A call was made to Winston to please solve the problem at hand, which he gladly did, and Rod took some fabulous photos from an inspirational location.

Cyclists Phil and Joyce Ogden

The next requirement was to set up a simple way of donating to the cause. Project leader PAG Marion Cooper liaised with Rob Byrne in the RISPPO Norwest office and a Raise for Rotary page was set up at https://raise.rotary.org/phil-ogden/fundraiser

Be very careful when writing to the media not to use punctuation near an URL because if someone adds a full stop or comma without space before or after the link won’t work.

With text of media release, some great photographs and a link for the call to action prepared, Bob shared these with Team Ogden and next to give support was Angela Stavrogiannopoulos, Senior Coordinator of Communications and Public Relations in the RISPPO office. Angela issued the press release to media outlets in Tasmania and it was immediately taken up by one radio station. That was a rewarding response right away with both Joyce and Phil being interviewed on ABC breakfast radio in the north of the state, but then things went quiet - very quiet.

So we switched our focus to social media while wishing and hoping for the stories to be published in the general press. Rotary Club of South Launceston Public Image Chair Glenda Iles created some great posts and Angela and I did too. We shared these with some influential Facebook sites and were delighted that the Council of the Ageing and Women in Tasmania spread the word with strong endorsement for the fundraiser.

Eventually after further personal deputations and reminders, The Mercury published the story on ANZAC Day (more than three weeks after the original press release went out) and The Examiner ran it on Sunday May 1. On that day Rotary Down Under also featured the story and The Senior Newspaper.

Tandem Cyclists on a mission, from Hobary Mercury, 25 April 2022

Then a small miracle became obvious. The story turned up on social media shared from the Hunter Advertiser and even the Canberra Times. We had not requested this coverage. They just sprang up like mushrooms in a magic forest. So encouraging.

At the recent Zone 8 Public Image Zoom training PDG Barry Antees used the tandem cycling challengers, Phil and Joyce, as a case study of “Mobile Ambassadors” for Rotary.

So far there have been three radio interviews, with more booked, numerous newspaper stories, Rotary on the Move, Rotary Down Under and many mentions in PDG Bob’s End Polio Now e-mail messages to district leaders. We are certainly spreading the word for End Polio Now.

Persistence and reminders and follow up questions have led to a successful team effort. Had we simply sent the media release and not followed up, we would have had one radio interview only.

After some 49 donations, the total of the appeal has reached $10,207. We aim to raise $40,000 from donations inspired by the Ogdens’ courageous and wholehearted physical and emotional commitment to the End Polio Now cause.

Phil and Joyce leave Tasmania on Saturday 14 May and on Thursday 12 May will be appropriately “sent off” at a ceremony in Launceston, their home city, hosted by the Mayor and attended by District 9830 Governor Heather Chong and all members of Team Ogden. We are honoured that the City of Launceston is prepared to support us in doing what we can to get this story onto the television news right around the state.

Thank you to the Rotary Public Image teams in Western Australia and South Australia who take over this month. Joyce and Phil leave Perth on Tuesday 17 May and ride into Adelaide on Wednesday 22 June. The campaign goes on.