MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE: THE WORLD’S FIRST IMAGE OF A BLACK HOLE
On April 10, 2019, groundbreaking scientific progress surrounding one of the universe’s greatest mysteries took place– and Bennet Group’s client, Maunakea Observatories, was right in the middle of it. Through a live press-conference in Washington, D.C., the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration announced and released the world’s first-ever image of a black hole. Pioneers of black hole study, and two of eight telescopes in the EHT collaboration, The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and Submillimeter Array (SMA) atop Maunakea played key roles in making the discovery possible.
The JCMT and SMA linked with six other radio telescopes across the globe in rare and unique locations to form an Earth-sized telescope of unprecedented power able to observe and “photograph” a supermassive black hole in the neighboring M87 galaxy. Astronomers also worked with renowned cultural practitioner and Hawaiian language expert Dr. Larry Kimura, to give the name of Pōwehi to the EHT collaboration for consideration.
Bennet Group worked alongside the JCMT and SMA teams to coordinate and execute a robust campaign including extensive stakeholder outreach, strong local, national and international media coverage, timely social media posts, interviews, a Q&A session and more before, during and after the image’s release. National/International coverage included the New York Times, The Guardian, Time Magazine, CNN, US News & World Report, Associated Press and more, while local coverage included Hawai‘i News Now, KITV, KHON2, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Pacific Business News and numerous other outlets across the state. 3,915 story placements directly traceable to Bennet Group’s media relations efforts took place within the first week of announcement and social media posts went viral with organic Facebook posts alone reaching over 180,000 people.