We are in the process of updating the Florida Keys and Key West tourism council press kit. OK, you say, so what?

Well, it’s no small feat, as it consists of about 40 press releases clocking in at more than 100 pages. Indeed, we only update it every couple of years since it’s such a monumental task.

The task has gotten me to thinking about whether it makes sense to even have a traditional press kit for journalists. We no longer print it (you’re welcome trees and environment!), at least, but one is led to wonder whether the whole concept of the “press kit” is outmoded in these days of anytime access to online archives of information?

I’ve concluded that the short answer is No.

The reason is the way the Keys press kit functions, which gets to the heart of what we do in public relations. For the Keys, the press kit provides a comprehensive overview of what is a very complex and diverse destination. It’s like having 250 clients, not just one — the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, or TDC. There are five chambers of commerce, six if you include the Key West Business Guild — the nation’s first gay-focused chamber of commerce. There are five District Advisory Boards, one for each region within the Keys. There are three umbrella committees dealing with different aspects of the Keys tourism offerings: fishing, diving and culture.

How do you tell the story of a destination that is so diverse, other than through a hundred-page press kit? How else would you cover everything from arts and archeology to cuisine and kayaking? From ecology and fishing to shipwrecks and literary figures?

Some argue that the press kit is just too long, that it should be just factual, a few pages of bullet points, not a long-winded narrative, would serve as well. But the purpose of the Keys press kit is not to simply provide facts, but to tell the story of the Keys, to give a narrative flavor and set a mood that evokes the destination as much as describes it.

So we will continue to update the damn thing every couple of years because it’s more than just a hundred pages or so of facts and figures, it’s a holistic work that tells the story of the Florida Keys and Key West, and, if you read the whole enchilada, like I have to do every so often, you really do get the Keys. And that’s the point.

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