City and chamber officials are hoping to pull off a bit of a public relations coup once the lenses and note pads of reporters from around the world arrive for the upcoming court-martial for the accused Fort Hood shooter.
The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce reached out proactively to 30 news organizations and the 247 reporters who have registered with Fort Hood officials to cover Maj. Nidal Hasan’s court-martial.
The hope is to generate some positive press about the Killeen community and its businesses.
“Historically, media at times go into the community and do stories,” Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce President John Crutchfield said. “We just want to give them some contacts.”
Coverage of Killeen from outside of Central Texas has tended to reflect negatively on the community. Stories have tended to refer to Killeen as a “scruffy” community permeated with fast food restaurants and pawn shops.
It is the first time the city and chamber have contacted reporters prior to a national story, Crutchfield said.
Reporters were given an extensive list of facts and figures about the makeup of the greater Killeen area, its place in Bell County and local public relations contacts. Ideally, it will give visiting reporters a wider view of the community.
“The event that occurred on Fort Hood does not define this community, but it will if we don’t do anything about it,” Crutchfield said.
They also want to hit reporters in their bellies with a list of “mom and pop” restaurants that locals know as the hidden gems of the city. Those include staples such as Taiwan Dragon and C&H Hawaiian Grill.
“They’re going to eat three times a day; we need to make sure they have choices,” said Mayor Dan Corbin.