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Pittsburgh's honors and PR


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There has been quite a bit of positive press about Pittsburgh lately. We were just ranked as the most liveable city. Forbes ranked us as one of the world's cleanest cities, we were one of Wired's "Top city for Geeks", etc.

We all know these things. I was just wondering how much of an effort is being made by the city to spread this news. Is there much of a PR department, and do they advertise in other markets to attract visitors and potential new residents?

A lot of our time is spent in this forum defensively debunking a lot of the ridiculous criticisms and editorials by people who don't like the city. Sensational, negative press seems to dominate the local media, and we react to this. In the same way, it seems as though the city is often put in a defensive position. I feel like Pittsburgh's politicians could do more in the way of proactive PR. Or maybe things are being done but I just don't know about them. Has the city done much advertising of these things in other TV markets to attract tourism and interest in moving to the area?

Everybody in the forum knows what a great city this is, and most of our residents feel the same way. Do you think many people in other areas are taking notice? Are all of these honors helping to dispel Pittsburgh myths? Just wondering what you guys think.

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An excellent question, to which I don't know the answer. As far as I know the city doesn't do TV advertising. I have heard talk in the past about campaigns to get our good image out there, but somehow those always seem to fall apart or even backfire. I am particularly thinking of the "mystery city" thing a few years ago.

But with the city's 250th anniversary coming up, I think more is being done. Not sure on details, but I get the impression that promotion is being done or planned.

Of course, the bad press tends to be just "free." I am not sure if paid advertising can really do much for us. What we need is more positive word of mouth. Honors like you mentioned fall into that category.

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Yes, a few years ago someone tried to do a "mystery city" tour where people would be told everything about the trip except for the destination. Shortly before leaving they would be told it was Pittsburgh. The idea was that it would show people that Pgh is not what they expect.

This plan fell through when the media leaked it. Unfortunately all it seemed to do was get us laughed at. <_<

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So anyway I was just thinking about this some more. It does seem like anytime there is some positive press, a bunch of people try to disprove it or downplay it. They usually claim they are being realistic, but to me it seems like looking for the cloud behind the silver lining.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just accentuate the positive for once, without someone trying to tear it down? I'm all for recognizing and fixing problems, but I think being positive now and then is equally important. Collectively, we are very self-critical. That isn't healthy, is it?

Seems like people who try to play up the positives get attacked or criticized by the "realists." I think this creates a bad vibe, and probably scares away some potential new residents.

I wish I knew how to turn that around.

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