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ZHU/VATSIM in the News


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personally im of the opinion these things should seriously go through VATSIM first for approval. the media tends to love to spin these things, in this case they seem to be trying to point fingers at the sim community, which theyve been trying to do since 9/11.

 

not only will it prevent bad press, but at the same time it could help prevent a member from walking into something they didnt know they were getting into.

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+1. Also lol'd a bit at:

 

“I think if there were an emergency situation I really could try and fly a 777,” Reuben Prevost, a Lamar University student, told Local 2.

 

If I'm ever on a flight with any of you fellow VATSIMers, the pilot(s) is/are incapacitated, and you happen to be thinking along the same lines as Mr. Prevost, please give me a heads up. Get us down to about 10k and I'll most likely just take my chances using my seat cushion as a parachute.

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personally im of the opinion these things should seriously go through VATSIM first for approval. the media tends to love to spin these things, in this case they seem to be trying to point fingers at the sim community, which theyve been trying to do since 9/11.

 

not only will it prevent bad press, but at the same time it could help prevent a member from walking into something they didnt know they were getting into.

 

This. This is exactly what we have VATGOV7 for if the vacancy would be filled. Until that, there's also VATGOV10. Every large group needs a public information contact.

Brad Lee

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ZJX ARTCC

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I am not a staff member of the ZHU ARTCC, so these opinions are of my own and do not represent ZHU's.

 

Although this story may have had a bad spin on it, I do not believe Mr. Prevost had anything to do with it. The media now a days is so bias and one sided on all issues, I get the feeling they think we should be scared and worried about every little thing out there regardless of situation. Whether it be 44oz soft drinks, the kind of food we eat, or flight simulation. It is my understanding that the news station was going to run this story regardless if anyone from Houston would meet with them. I counted 4 quotes from Mr. Prevost in the write up and maybe 10-15 seconds of him making harmless statements in the video, all of which had nothing bad to say about flight simulation. Simply, he explained and said what most of us would have to say about flight simulation. Regardless of the spin the media put on this story, Mr. Prevost is not at fault and should not be blamed for this. I am seeing a bit of unfair comments made in his direction on the facebook page. I do believe that VATGOV whatever should have been involved, but I think its unfair to blame Mr. Prevost.

Brighton McMinn

Air Traffic Manager

Fort Worth ARTCC

VATSIM Supervisor - Team 1

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No one's saying he is responsible for the inevitable bias/spin the media adds - that'd be silly. It just seems rather misguided at best (stupid at worst) to be making statements on behalf of a community without that community's established spokesperson being involved - especially in light of the issue at hand.

 

I don't see any unfairness in that opinion. My $.02, anyway.

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The recent NY times article was a very nice piece describing Vatsim. The lead on that was Vatsim's spokesperson, Justin Friedland, who has experience in the national media himself. The Houston piece seems to be nothing else than a local affiliate trying to boost their ratings by crying fire in a crowded movie theatre. This is probably a good lesson for anyone who thinks that they can trust the media to do the right thing all the time. To be on the safe side, media interviews should be left to those who are savvy enough to know exactly what makes the news media tick.

Ken Bambach

ZMA ATM

VATSIM Supervisor

 

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It is not Journalism if there ain't a bit of Sensationalism, such is the state of news affairs these days. They are willing to say anything to get ppl to click on their links. And I have to agree with Brighton, All news media is interested in is trying to scare ppl on every single damn issue.

When is your next Flight||VATSIM HitSquad Member, ZOA/ZAK/P1

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That said, if you are being interviewed for a piece and you know something has just happened related to simming, then you need to pick and choose what questions to answer. I wouldn't have answered anything remotely related to MH370.

Ryan Geckler - GK | Former VATUSA3 - Division Training Manager

VATSIM Minneapolis ARTCC | FAA Miami ARTCC 

Cross the Pond Planning Team

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What gave this story "substance" was the ATC link and sadly, as happens often in a sensationalized media, those being interviewed did so with the best intentions while those producing didn't. With respect to all involved, and this isn't said to point fingers, the fact is that an individual does have a responsibility and ownership of the spin. Why? Because if they haven't been approved to speak on behalf of a community/organization/etc, then their choice to do so means they take ownership of it. The interview wasn't a setup, wasn't a reporter following someone uninvited. Further, globally, it is known the media was looking at the missing plane's pilot for using a simulator at home. This is why companies have prepared statements during situations and refer additional questions to a single point person. The sad fact is, the media is looking to make a story and they don't care who they hurt/mock/insult to get it. If this had happened 12 months from now, it might have been just as great as the New York article...but that's not today's news cycle. Further, for someone who doesn't understand the concept of what is going on with "the online stuff," it might be worrisome if people who don't even remember the Earth orbits around the Sun that anyone with a peanut for a brain can pull FAA charts or a B777 flight manual off the web. Regretfully, in the corporate world, an employee might be given a final warning or worse for participating in an interview like this.

 

Is that fair? Of course not, yet as someone who works in management/administration, at the same time one lesson I think comes from this is that there should be much stricter guidelines issued to the controller community (and ARTCC staffs in general) dealing with public relations. No, this isn't a Fortune 500 company, but there is no reason at all controllers in every country shouldn't know "If you get an e-mail/call/message from BBC/NBC/CBS/FOX/GOD asking for comment or an interview, refer it to Person X." That person can then take the lead on the media relations and may respond back a day later saying "Good to go, but stick to the following and if they ask about the following please spin it as..." I personally think we probably need to be a little more diligent in providing information to people...helping them to help themselves. For some members of the community, many working professionals in fact, it is somewhat common knowledge. However, we forget there are many wonderful members of our community who don't have that knowledge/experience/education. Having it available wouldn't be the worst thing on the planet.

-Fred

Deputy Air Traffic Manager

Miami vARTCC - United States Division (I1)

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  • 3 weeks later...
+1. Also lol'd a bit at:

 

“I think if there were an emergency situation I really could try and fly a 777,” Reuben Prevost, a Lamar University student, told Local 2.

 

If I'm ever on a flight with any of you fellow VATSIMers, the pilot(s) is/are incapacitated, and you happen to be thinking along the same lines as Mr. Prevost, please give me a heads up. Get us down to about 10k and I'll most likely just take my chances using my seat cushion as a parachute.

 

My point was not:

I can fly a 777 anytime I want!!

 

My point was:

If there is no one who was available to fly the plane, then I could try to land the plane. But of course, you would rather no one fly the plane.

 

You are a C1 Mentor, so you should know that 777s are capable of landing themselves.

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No one's saying he is responsible for the inevitable bias/spin the media adds - that'd be silly. It just seems rather misguided at best (stupid at worst) to be making statements on behalf of a community without that community's established spokesperson being involved - especially in light of the issue at hand.

 

I don't see any unfairness in that opinion. My $.02, anyway.

 

You are entitled to your opinion of course. I was not, however, speaking on behalf of the VATSIM community. I was speaking on my behalf as a VATSIM controller/pilot.

 

Even if I was speaking on behalf of the community, does it really matter? I understand that everyone wants

to be protected in today's society, but this local Houston TX news station is not going to bring down this community. I appreciate the concern guys, but I can handle the news.

Why do you think that they only put like 5 seconds of our entire 30 minute interview? It's because I painted VATSIM in a positive light.

 

Anyways, I digress. Enjoy your evening gentlemen.

 

Reuben.

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I was not, however, speaking on behalf of the VATSIM community. I was speaking on my behalf as a VATSIM controller/pilot.

 

That's the thing. If you speak to the media about the organization then you are representing the organization, regardless if it is intentional or unintentional.

 

I appreciate the concern guys, but I can handle the news. Why do you think

that they only put like 5 seconds of our entire 30 minute interview? It's because I painted VATSIM in a positive light.

 

Let's be specific, no one is suggesting that you deliberately tried to smear VATSIM. However, the news surrounded and manipulated your clips in order to imply that the organization could potentially be used for terrorism. I think we can all agree that this is not a positive reputation that ought to be promoted to an uninformed audience.

Colin Schoen

VATSIM Senior Network Supervisor

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I was not, however, speaking on behalf of the VATSIM community. I was speaking on my behalf as a VATSIM controller/pilot.

 

That's the thing. If you speak to the media about the organization then you are representing the organization, regardless if it is intentional or unintentional.

 

I appreciate the concern guys, but I can handle the news. Why do you think

that they only put like 5 seconds of our entire 30 minute interview? It's because I painted VATSIM in a positive light.

 

Let's be specific, no one is suggested that you deliberately tried to smear VATSIM, but the news surrounded and manipulated your clips in order to imply that the organization could potentially be used for terrorism. I think we can all agree that this is not a positive reputation that ought to be promoted to an uninformed audience.

 

 

You said:

"...but the news surrounded and manipulated your clips in order to imply that the organization could potentially be used for terrorism. I think we can all agree that this is not a positive reputation that ought to be promoted to an uninformed audience."

 

I reply by saying that FSX (and VATSIM as an extension) could be used for malintent... ... in the same way that Call of Duty could be used for malintent.

 

Just read the comments on the news story web page. The "uninformed audience" can see how ridiculous it is for someone to criticize a flight sim for possibly being a terrorist's aid.

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You said:

"...but the news surrounded and manipulated your clips in order to imply that the organization could potentially be used for terrorism. I think we can all agree that this is not a positive reputation that ought to be promoted to an uninformed audience."

 

I reply by saying that FSX (and VATSIM as an extension) could be used for malintent... ... in the same way that Call of Duty could be used for malintent.

That isn't the issue. The issue is that the organization shouldn't promote itself through the media with the focus being on the potential for malintent.

Colin Schoen

VATSIM Senior Network Supervisor

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I work in the news media, (save the tomato throwing), as a producer now having been in newsroom management and story development.

 

How exactly did KPRC find you and reach out to you?

 

As was said earlier, any interview on in-home flight simulators, days after the news came out about Capt Shah's home simulator should have been a huge red flag as to the angle of the story.

 

Hindsight is 20/20 but anytime you have an aviation incident news media try to cover every angle, we rely heavily on tips from people, and in my business sometimes we trust that "expert" that calls us up telling us about something. I'm extremely skeptical of tips and such but it's happened in the past where a member of this network purported to be an "aviation expert" talking out of their rear end to a local news affiliate during a story.

 

I agree that having a GOV7 would help be a point of contact, Justin seems to be doing very well in the dual-role marketing and functioning as comms.

 

So my advice as a member, not as any of my titles below...

 

-Don't reach out to the media and say you're an expert unless in the real world you got it

-If the media contact you, refer them to VP Marketing and/or Steven.

-Steven/VPM may decide to have you do the interview but they can prepare you to avoid the situation from being skewed.

 

In this case Reuben, as soon as they went ANYTHING towards MH370 you should have ended the interview. The interview should likely have never happened at all due to the timing of the news about the home simulator as it was probable they wanted an angle. Especially if they had their "Investigative" unit which it appears to be the branding.

 

You likely had the best intentions, and the saying is any press is good press, but the story got perverted to something it wasn't meant to be.

Brian Pryor - (810138)

Vice President Marketing & Communications (VATGOV10)

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As was said earlier, any interview on in-home flight simulators, days after the news came out about Capt Shah's home simulator should have been a huge red flag as to the angle of the story.

 

 

I'm not naive... I knew from the time they reached out what this was about. I did it anyway to show them that I disagreed with their view point on

flight sims being connected with the missing flight.

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which is yet another good example why these things need to go through the proper channels with folks that actually know how to handle those situations

 

the intention was good, but never ever think youll be able to get one over on the media. a little clever editing is all it takes to make their point come across, not yours

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You likely had the best intentions, and the saying is any press is good press, but the story got perverted to something it wasn't meant to be.

 

The story was probably exactly what it was meant to be.

Again, I and ZHU knew exactly what the story was going to be about. I have a feeling that I'm being portrayed as some kid who "didn't know better."

This is just not so. We were even talking about it in the ZHU teamspeak before the interview. We all knew. But as you said: "any press is good press."

 

In my defense, I am a preacher/college student. I have a good stage presence and do well in front of cameras. When churches ask me to come in and speak,

they always pay me (they do this on their own accord; I never ask.)

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which is yet another good example why these things need to go through the proper channels with folks that actually know how to handle those situations

 

the intention was good, but never ever think youll be able to get one over on the media. a little clever editing is all it takes to make their point come across, not yours

 

Again, this is very patronizing. I understand the news; I know how they work. I'm aware of media bias and I knew how this would turn out from the beginning.

As a matter of fact, the interviewer opened with something along the lines of "this is about the missing flight." That was fine with me. None of my

words were twisted to mean anything foreign. The clips and quotes that they took from me were exactly how I meant them.

 

Yes, they printed their story. My words, however, were not taken out of it's context. Could I land a 777 if I absolutely had to? Yes.

Do I think flight sims are security risks? they quoted me as saying "I don't think so."

 

Every thing I said was well within context.

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