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Marketing Seminar: Media & Public Relations Bootcamp for Arts & Humanities...

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The Writer's Center

4508 Walsh Street

Bethesda, MD 20815

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In an evolving communications landscape, it can be overwhelming to navigate how to engage with members of the media to build awareness surrounding programming, institutional events and initiatives. Join AHCMC for a full-day media relations seminar led by arts publicity strategist Kirstin Franko of Spitzberg Advisors as she walks us through the development of a media relations strategy that will amp up journalist and community awareness, leading to more earned coverage, increased attendance and satisfied board and donor relations. Ed Spitzberg will facilitate.


Topics of the seminar include:

  • How to identify appropriate media contacts for your market
  • Drafting press communications including releases, pitches and invites
  • Developing a comprehensive media strategy and implementing it throughout the project’s campaign
  • Tips for media training
  • How to effectively utilize secured coverage; and more


Featured guest, regional freelance arts journalist, and former Washington Post Backstage theater columnist, Rebecca J. Ritzel will conclude the seminar with a facilitated conversation focused on the needs and perspectives of arts journalists. Participants will leave the program equipped to effectively communicate with targeted members of the media to further goals of their organization’s specific mission and increase media coverage.


About the Presenter:

Kirstin Franko brings more than a decade of communication strategy, particularly in the arts, to the Spitzberg Advisors team. She is currently the Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications for George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, where she oversees all publicity efforts for the seven academic disciplines of the College as well as for the programming of the Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax, VA and the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, VA. Previously, Franko served as Director of Media Relations for Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, where she led the media relations team for the Tony Award-winning performing arts center for more than 11 seasons. In her role, she was responsible for developing and executing comprehensive media strategies for Arena Stage’s productions, institutional programming and arts education programs, as well as leveraging and maximizing opportunities for general Arena Stage institutional coverage throughout the year. Highlights from her time with Arena Stage include strategizing and gaining coverage around the theater’s $135 million expansion and grand re-opening, and working on nine productions that went on to have a life on Broadway, including Dear Evan Hansen (winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical) and Sweat by Lynn Nottage (winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama). As a graduate of TCU's Bob Schieffer School of Journalism, Kirstin is a Texas native, but now calls the D.C. area home.


Featured Guest:

Rebecca Ritzel

Rebecca J. Ritzel has covered the DC-area arts scene as a freelance journalist since 2007. She has written about classical music, dance, museums and theater for The Washington Post, and served as the paper's Backstage theater columnist from 2014-2016. So far in 2019, Rebecca's byline has appeared locally in the Post, Bethesda Magazine, City Paper, Virginia Living and Washingtonian. She has taught writing at American University and the University of Maryland, and she holds a master's degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University. She's originally from Baltimore and is a proud graduate of Maryland's public school system. Follow Rebecca on Twitter/Instagram: @rjritzel


About the Facilitator:

Spitzberg Advisors, a strategic advisory firm serving nonprofit organizations and leaders, brings a team of experts to draw upon for each project, including former development and media relations leaders of arts and humanities organizations, a professor of arts education, and other nonprofit, project management, and strategy experts.

Ed Spitzberg, Principal, is a nonprofit executive, fundraiser and strategic advisor (and recent Off-Broadway producer) with more than 17 years of experience in nonprofit leadership. Spitzberg Advisors’ engagements have included creating a business plan and strategy for a Broadway producer and former President of Lincoln Center to launch a new national arts education program; restructuring the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program’s fundraising processes to increase its capacity, guiding the organization from assessment to plan to implementation; and leading a strategic retreat and planning process of the Voter Participation Center. Other clients include Capital City Symphony, Gourmet Symphony, Americans for the Arts, Maryland Nonprofits and CEDE Aruba. Ed Spitzberg has presented at and facilitated events by Americans for the Arts, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, United Nation’s Development Programme and the Government of Aruba’s Centre of Excellence for Small Island Developing States, National AfterSchool Association, ArtStream, Dance Metro DC, the International Finance Corporation (a division of the World Bank), and others. For more information, visit: https://www.spitzbergadvisors.com.

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The Writer's Center

4508 Walsh Street

Bethesda, MD 20815

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