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America Outdoors E-Bulletin
September 6, 2006


 
Leading Travel Writers to Participate in Media Panel at Confluence AO Responds to Inaccuracies in CNN Paula Zahn Now Report
AO's Marketing and Management Conference Nov. 29 - Dec. 2, 2006    

Leading Travel Writers to Participate in
Media Panel at Confluence
  How to Tailor Your Message to Travel Writers
Learn how to get your message to travel editors from this esteemed panel of speakers. Find out what trends are developing in the adventure travel industry; how to craft your message to their audience; how to become a spokesperson for your business; and how to contact busy editors.
Panel members include: Keith Bellows, editor of National Geographic Traveler, John Rasmus from National Geographic Adventure, Stephanie Pearson of Outside Magazine, and Tom Wharton of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Information for America Outdoors' International Marketing and Management Conference, November 29 - December 1, is available online at Confluence Agenda. You can register online at Confluence registration.
   
AO Responds to Inaccuracies in
CNN Paula Zahn Now Report
In a press release issued September 5, 2006 - David Brown, Executive Director of America Outdoors, said that a CNN report posted on the Internet on September 5, 2006 http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/paula.zahn.now/ and a report which aired on Paula Zahn Now inaccurately reported statistics and fatalities related to the highly popular recreational sport of guided whitewater rafting. Despite being informed about the stories inaccuracies, CNN still has the misleading story posted on their website. America Outdoors issued a nationwide press release immediately after the televised report refuting the story's inaccuracies

"We acknowledge that every accident is tragic, and as an industry of professionals we work to create standards that will eliminate as much risk as possible," said Brown. "Approximately 4 million Americans safely enjoy commercially guided whitewater trips each year. However, as in any outdoor recreational adventure activity, there is a certain amount of inherent risk in whitewater rafting. Although the intent of the report was well meaning, what concerns us about the CNN report is that some of the data was inaccurately reported and taken out of context. The report omitted the fact that most of the fatalities referred to within the report occurred when individuals were not part of an organized guided and commercial raft trip."

"CNN reported 50 deaths from whitewater accidents and inferred that they were on commercial whitewater raft trips. Ten fatalities have been reported on guided whitewater raft trips this year," said Brown. "In addition, none of the fatalities on commercially guided trips were the result of a customer not wearing a life jacket. Of the eight fatalities cited in Oregon by the story, none were on a commercially guided trip."

Charlie Walbridge, who manages the safety data for American Whitewater, the source for CNN's data for the story, said that CNN had mixed the commercial and private accidents in a way that was confusing. After the televised report, Walbridge sent an email to CNN, stating "I ask that you prepare a correction stating that American Whitewater was not consulted in preparing this article and does not support the interpretations of reports in our accident database made by your reporter. It would be ideal if you would focus on creating a useful public safety message rather than twisting our data to attack commercial outfitters."

CNN also asserted that the rafting industry was weakly regulated. The story was generated by the Clark Chapin Whitewater Safety Foundation. Clark Chapin, a former Dean of the Oregon State University Law School, died on a guided fishing trip in Oregon during which the guide reportedly had no throw rope to use in rescue, a valid point made by the story. But the story suggested that outfitters were weakly regulated and used deaths from non commercial trips to justify the Chapin Foundation's push for stronger regulations on the industry. The story stated that few states required safety gear for commercial outfitters, ignoring federal regulatory requirements.

Review the online CNN article. Email your comments about your regulatory requirements to CNN at http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/paula.zahn.now/
 
AO's Marketing and Management Conference November 29 - December 2, 2006
Information for America Outdoors' International Marketing and Management Conference, November 29 - December 1, is available online at Confluence Agenda. You can register online at Confluence registration.
We are looking forward to a strong attendance this year in Salt Lake. The conference is at the Hilton City Center and the trade show and International Bazaar will be held at the Salt Palace. You can make reservations online at Hilton Reservations. Please plan to stay at the Hilton to help AO avoid costly penalties for not utilizing the reserved room block.
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America Outdoors® Inc., PO Box 10847, Knoxville, TN, 37939

America Outdoors Staff Title E-mail address
David L. Brown Executive Director dbrown@americaoutdoors.org
Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
Liz Bentley Office Manager office@americaoutdoors.org
Office Phone 865-558-3595
Office Fax 865-558-3598

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