BWI to discuss media’s role in Newsmaker session

WILMETTE, Ill. – “Stop the Bleeding – The Media’s Role in the Debate” is the subject of Boating Writers International’s “Newsmaker” session to be held Feb. 13, during the Miami International Boat Show, the BWI said yesterday.

Setting the stage will be Richard Strickler, executive vice president with GE Commercial Distribution Finance, who challenged the industry last fall when he called for action to stem the decline in boating participation that has occurred over the past 15 years.

Since then, a meeting of the manufacturing community has produced some recommendations and a starting plan. Strickler will explain his concern and discuss why he acted.

BWI President Mike Sciulla encourages the media to join the debate and will open the issue to BWI attendees and lead a discussion on whether, and to what extent, the boating media has a stake. Among the issues to be aired:

* Should the media be promoters for the industry or advocates for its readers?
* Does the lack of circulation growth in most boating publications have anything to do with the previous question?
* Boat sales have been flat for a decade. Why is the positive message of recreational boating seemingly not getting through to the public?

“Many people have strong opinions on these issues, ” Sciulla said. “Everyone in the industry is welcome to join in what is sure to be a lively debate on an issue that just doesn’t seem to want to get resolved or go away!”

At the same meeting, 39 top marine stories and their authors will be recognized in an annual writing contest conducted by the BWI membership. $13,000 in awards will be presented to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place winners in 13 writing categories. Each recipient also takes home a recognition plaque noting his or her “excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”

BWI meetings are open to all. BWI will hold its general membership meeting Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in room A-202 at the convention center.

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