The Gowanus CAG Outreach Committee met on, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, with discussion focused on development of the CAG’s Communications Plan.
CAG Members present: Sabine Aronowsky, Michelle de la Uz, Rafael Gomez de Luna, Katia Kelly, Eric McClure, Maria Pagano, Maryann Young
Guests: April Dubison, National Grid
All third-party articles have been removed from the CAG homepage. In order to keep the site fresh, however, it’s important for the CAG to generate as much original content as possible.
All minutes through September have been posted to the site. Still awaiting October, December and January minutes, and February minutes will be reviewed and approved at the March CAG meeting.
There are two or three resolutions in the works at the Committee level, and once approved, they will be posted to the website. All future posts of resolutions should include a link to previously passed CAG resolutions for easy reference.
The Committee discussed some Facilitation Team exchanges about posting relevant news articles to the website, but doing so would likely necessitate a burdensome site redesign. If someone would like to take on that responsibility, that would be great, but it would be simpler to explore alternatives to a full redesign, at least in the near term.
Eric McClure will investigate whether it would be possible to include an RSS feed on the home page which could link to third-party news articles. The news articles would be filtered by Google search based on key-word parameters agreed upon by the full CAG, such as “Gowanus,” “EPA,” “Superfund,” etc. That portion of the site would include a clear disclaimer that the articles are there for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the CAG. Eric will report back to the Outreach Committee as to feasibility at the April meeting.
There was a suggestion that there could be a private, password-protected portion of the website that would be a place where CAG members could share articles and other information not for public consumption, but again, that would entail a site redesign, which is an involved and laborious process.
As an alternative to a members-only portion of the website, Eric suggested resurrecting the CAG Google Group. It could be limited to CAG members only, would allow CAG members to share and debate information not approved for dissemination outside the CAG, and would have the added benefit of serving as a one-stop, searchable repository for internal CAG correspondence. Outreach could develop a short guide for CAG members on how to use the Google Group. We’ll revisit this at the April Outreach Committee meeting for possible recommendation to the full CAG.
Organizational alternates should be added to the Outreach Committee email list.
There is a larger CAG email list that includes several dozen if not hundreds of addresses. Members were unsure where that email list resides or who may have access to it. The list was comprised of people interested in what the CAG was doing and how the cleanup was proceeding.
Committee members discussed the possibility of creating a quarterly CAG email newsletter that would share information with this larger email list: updates on cleanup progress, upcoming meetings, etc. The Committee will flesh that out in greater detail at the April meeting. Someone suggested that George Fiala and Natalie Loney could play a role.
We’ll also explore including a form on the home page by which people can sign up for email updates and announcements.
CAG does not currently have a Facebook page. The EPA’s Gowanus Superfund page is active, and any member can post articles there or comment. We should be sure to post information about CAG meetings to the EPA Facebook page, and could also link to it from the CAG website, pending full CAG approval.
The CAG does not currently have a Twitter feed, but Committee members agreed that a Twitter account limited to conveying information that is posted on the website – meeting info, new website posts, etc. – would be a valuable tool for sharing information with the public at large. There was some discussion of the possibility of live-tweeting CAG meetings, especially information shared by the EPA at meetings, but that discussion was tabled until a later date.
Action: The Committee will recommend to the full CAG the creation of a Twitter feed to share CAG-generated content.
Steve de Seve shot video of the two tours of DEP control-tank facilities, one with a head house and one without. Those videos were posted to the CAG YouTube page (www.youtube.com/gowanuscanalcag), but there was disagreement among the full CAG about the content (for example, there’s no disclaimer about DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd’s point of view not necessarily being that of the CAG). There was agreement among Committee members that the video tours represent valuable information, but that the video should be amended with a disclaimer or disclaimers where appropriate, and approved by the full CAG, and that the CAG website should include a link to the CAG YouTube page. In keeping with bylaws, any content created for the YouTube page must be approved by the full CAG.
Action: Add discussion of the videos and link from website to YouTube page to March full CAG agenda.
Thursday, April 14, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the Fifth Avenue Committee.