The day before Hurricane Isaac made landfall, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board executive leadership tracked down Newsroom Ink founder and IABC Austin member Ed Lallo.
Vacationing with his wife Adrienne, also an IABC Austin member, the Lallo’s were headed for Montreal – within 30 miles of the Canadian border – Ewell Smith, Louisiana Seafood’s executive director, reached out to him for help.
Monitoring the approaching storm from his offices along Lake Pontchartrain, Smith knew the board needed effective business communications to inform the state’s $2.4-billion seafood community about the hurricane – before, during and after it hit.
Launched when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in 2010, the board already had in place its Louisiana Seafood News site. While the newsroom provided much-needed communications during that crisis, the site had transitioned to non-crisis issues.
“Our crisis communications team felt that Isaac posed a big enough threat to the industry to fully reactivate the site,” Smith said.
Working at night from Montreal with team members in Dallas, within 24 hours after the call to Newsroom Ink, the relaunched site - LouisianaSeafoodNews.com - went live as the Category 1 hurricane closed in. Initial stories reported on the Seafood Board’s preparedness, its strategies and actions to serve its constituents – fishermen, processors, restaurant owners and related businesses.
“This was definitely an exercise to test how experienced communicators react in a crisis,” said Lallo. “Springfield Lewis, Gordon Curry and Tony Cecala pulled off the impossible. My primary mission was keeping an understanding wife happy on vacation.”
Soon after, Louisiana Seafood News served as a credible source for other media picking up stories about the storm’s impact, such as Fish Information & Services, a global seafood industry news site.
Wide-ranging coverage of this diverse industry, which employs one out of every 70 workers in Louisiana, continues every week. Recent newsroom stories include:
- LDWF Search and Rescue Teams Weather Isaac’s Worst to Save 1,500+
- New Guest Worker Rules Threaten Livelihood of Seafood Processors
- Louisiana and Japanese Seafood Leaders Share Ideas as Both Rebuild Businesses
- Vermilion Bay Sweet: Bountiful Harvest for Shrimpers, Local Businesses and Seafood Lovers
“The newsroom is a forum to address business and industry issues, highlight our expertise and tell our stories,” said Smith. “It gives us a greater voice and a place to be heard – loud and clear.”