by Max Brantley
What does the Correction Department need to advertise, my friend asked. "Rooms to rent?"
I downloaded the KATV app and found out for myself. There, the Department of Correction is running help wanted ads. I dropped the matter there. I'm all for advertising legitimate needs (though, of course, my own organization is a better place to start). It seemed to me that an app appealing to sports fans might be a good place to recruit future prison guards.
But word kept getting around. And it set up some noise from state legislators on Twitter this morning, particularly before they knew what the ads were about, having only seen the Correction Deparment's sponsorhip credit on KATV ads for its mobile app.
Shea Wilson of the Correction Department provides the details, for any who might be interested. KATV was paid $36,000 in June, shortly before the end of the fiscal year, for a year's worth of advertising commencing Aug. 1. The money came from general revenue. The Department of Correction uses a variety of methods to recruit employees, including print, billboards, job fairs and others. "This app was an opportunity for us to try something new and broaden our reach," Wilson said.
KATV estimated in a presentation to ADC that its sports app would have an estimated 742,988 page views each month (this is based on pageviews to its older weather app, according to a Powerpoint presentation Wilson provided). As one of four "exclusive" sponsors, the Correction Department could expect to get about a fourth, or 150,000, of an estimated 600,000 impressions, or about a fourth, or 185,000, of the estimated page views, monthly.
Need a job in a secure environment? Interested in the Gurdon Go Devil-Prescott Curley Wolves score? KATV has you covered.
Sen. Jonathan Dismang questioned the expenditure, coming as it did at the end of the fiscal year when surpluses could have gone back to the treasury. He noted that ADC had spent about $15,000 in human relations advertising in 2011, $8,820 in 2012 and $47,164, counting the $36,000, in 2013. "Not a scandal, just terrible judgment," he commented.