As member of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics outreach team (the part that focuses on lead poisoning prevention), I was faced with the task of trying to identify new forms of communication to reach the general public about Lead Poisoning Prevention. My solution: Launch a Video Contest!
Sounds easy? You be the judge! Here are some of my lessons learned when launching a video contest.
- Ensure you have web-know-how support. Without my two fantastic interns; Mary and Micheal, I would have never be able to navigate YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- When filming a video on the National Mall remember — wind, sun, and happy tourist conversation can all affect video quality (see video below!!).
- Be prepared to be called at the last minute to appear on camera regardless of your experience. Being a biologist, like myself, does not prepare you in any way to read a script, look at a camera and talk slowly. (Trust me, I tried and I realized I am no Lisa Ling).
- Government outreach — or any outreach — is no longer just about conferences, documents, and presentations. Think of new ideas and you never know how many people you may reach and what you might accomplish.
Mary, Mike and I hope that this contest will help EPA motivate those who are interested in furthering the message about Lead Poisoning Prevention. We look forward to your entries and are eager to see whose names will be on the winners’ checks in October!
About the author: Christina Wadlington joined EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics in July 2008 and works on Lead and Mercury outreach and policy. After calling many places home from traveling with the Marine Corps, she settled in the Washington, DC area while attending Georgetown University, where she studied the learning behaviors of Monarch butterflies.