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Communicator of the Week: D-Day As It Happens

11th June 2013

Most people know the basic story of D-Day, 6 June 1944. 156,000 men from the UK, America, Canada, France and other allied nations landed on the beaches of Normandyin northern France. By the end of that day the allies had a foothold in occupied Europe and the end of the Second World War was a lot nearer than if these landings hadn’t succeeded.  As the number of veterans of the second world war diminishes each year, it is up to their descendants to ensure their story is carried forward to future generations. This is why I was so pleased to see the brilliant two-part documentary from Channel 4, D-Day As It Happens. 

I understand you may be bemused as to why I’m talking about a history documentary as there are countless history documentaries each week on television. Many are about the Second World War. 

The way I became aware of this particular documentary illustrates perfectly how well the documentary team had thought about their various media channels to communicate their story. It was first flagged to me on Facebook which was then followed up via someone I follow and trust on Twitter. Both people saying it was brilliant. 

Further digging - research amounting to clicking on a link via Twitter - and I was taken to the live blog which was sharing information, photos, film and personal stories in real-time. Throughout 5 and 6 June the documentary team ran eight Twitter feeds allowing you to follow seven different individuals who played a part in D-Day. Sadly not all made it to the end of this historic day.   

The media we use to consume content will change but great storytelling will never go out of fashion. D-Day is certainly a momentous story. What D-Day As It Happens did brilliantly was integrate a range of media to tell the story and individual stories in new ways making it more accessible and interactive than ever before. This could well be the future of TV documentaries, I certainly hope so. That is why D-Day As It Happens is my Communicator of the Week. 

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications

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