By Diane Pratt-Heavner, SNA Director of Media Relations 2014-08-25 10:36:17
Back in 2010, Association members identified “negative perceptions of school nutrition” as the most critical issue facing the profession. Over the last four years, SNA has worked hard to combat outdated stereotypes by shining a spotlight on exciting trends taking root in school cafeterias nationwide. We’ve coordinated extensive back-to-school media campaigns, Facebook promotions and annual magazine tours to brief editors of such consumer publications as Family Circle, Parenting and Good Housekeeping on the many ways you are improving your programs and promoting the nutritious choices offered through school meals. This outreach has paid off. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the front-page stories in USA Today featuring innovative school menus and recipes. I hope you caught national television and Associated Press reports on the nutritious foods sampled at each year’s Annual National Conference. And you can head to the web to read posts from mom bloggers” touting healthy changes to school lunch. Along the way, SNA has solidified a reputation as the authority on school nutrition. National reporters typically come to us first when planning a story on school meals. They recognize that we are a key resource for facts, figures and leads on a wide variety of topics. Despite our success in building positive public awareness, we continue to struggle with unfair media reports. It’s even more frustrating when cheap stereotypes come from journalists who haven’t even visited a school cafeteria in person! But we are moving the needle in the right direction, it’s all thanks to you. SNA relies on individual members to share your successes and challenges through stories, menus, recipes and photos. It is simply not enough for SNA to release data proving that schools are serving more locally sourced produce now than ever before. To get that good news in print, we must provide examples of schools that have specified a locally grown preference in produce bids or of districts that partner with local farmers. Help SNA continue to make positive headlines. Launched an innovative new program, promotion or menu item? Let me know! Sponsored a community food show or are providing creative nutrition education to students? Drop us a line! Similarly, if you continue to struggle with the challenges of the regulatory requirements, please share these. From participation declines to increased plate waste, we need your help to make the case for change. E-mail your stories, photos, local media reports and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always seeking new content to share with reporters directly, as well as through Facebook.com/TrayTalk and @SchoolLunch. Keep reaching out to local media on your own, too. In addition to the advice featured in this issue, I encourage you to visit www.schoolnutrition.org/PR for more resources to help you create positive headlines about school meals.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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