Who Can Ask For Announcements?
Date Written: August, 1986
Last Updated: Summer, 2016
Author: Eilis O'Boirne

Policy Level: Informational / WK Policy
Intended Audience: All heralds
Abstract: A list of the various people who can ask the herald to make announcements as a duty herald, with suggestions on how to determine if the announcements are appropriate.

You’re the herald on duty and someone has just asked you to make an announcement. Do you make the announcement? Well, it depends on who asked -- and what the announcement is.

The Royalty always has the right to ask the heralds to make announcements. After all, we’re Their Voice. However, the announcement should be appropriate to the time and place. If the King asks you to announce that President Reagan is a fink, you might suggest that such a mundane announcement is out of place in the SCA. If the King asks that you announce “Court in seven hours” at 3 AM, you might remind him that most of the populace is asleep. (In either case, once you have given your advice, make the announcement if he insists, but be ready to duck.)

Included in Royalty’s prerogative to order announcements are such things as calls for the Queen’s Guard, announcements of Peerage meetings and Courts, and other such matters. Royalty quite often delegates the relaying of these announcements to someone on Their court or to one of Their Officers. Treat messages relayed in this matter as though you had been given a direct command by Their Majesties (or Highnesses).

If a senior Herald or the herald-in-charge of the event asks you to make an announcement, you can assume that it should be made immediately. Either it will involve heraldic business, or it will have been pre-screened before being given to you.

The Autocrat of an event has the authority to ask for any announcement connected with the smooth running of the event. These can include things like specific requirements and hazards of the site, or announcements about planned events. Some of these announcements should be made immediately,and some should be held for court. Use your judgements about the specific announcement you have been asked to make. If it is one best held for Court, make sure the Autocrat knows that he will have to give the announcement to the herald assigned to the next Court. Be ready to explain to the Autocrat why the announcement would be better done at Court. Treat the Autocrat gently -- he is probably frazzled.

The Greater and Lesser Officers have the right to ask for announcements connected with their Offices, and with the function of their Offices at the event. For instance, the Constables might want cars moved from the Eric, the Mistress of Lists might want all fighters to sign up, or the Chancellor of Scribes might want all scribes to come to her pavilion. These are all legitimate announcements. Anyone running a competition or other sub-event can expect you to make any reasonable announcement they need. These would include announcements of teas, children’s activities, and contest times. Sometimes it is possible to “accumulate” several of these announcements and make them at one time. Clustered announcements usually receive more attention. Whether you can do this will depend on the “time-value” of the announcement. For instance, if you are asked to announce a dance competition in an hour, you can usually wait another half hour to see if more announcements come in, since the competitors will not need much time to prepare. However, competitors in a cooking competition may need more time to prepare their entries.

You may be asked by an autocrat of an upcoming event to make an announcement promoting the event. In general, advise them to post a written description of the event on the Royal Pavilion and make an announcement that the description is posted. An exception may be made for an event which is happening before the next PAGE, for which there is a substantial change in the information (for instance, a site change). These announcements should usually be made in Court.

Screening announcements for Court is easier and more difficult. Easier because the Royalty will usually give you guidelines -- harder because when you blow it everyone will know. See the Court articles for more information on screening business.

Any member of the populace can ask that you make an announcement. Usually they do so for “emergency” reasons. Whether or not you should make the announcement depends on what it is, and the type and tone of the event. At most large events, if someone is late for dinner, it is not the job of the herald on duty to find him. However, if a small child is missing, an announcement with description should be made at once. If a hornet’s nest has been uncovered, everyone needs to know about it. You have to use your judgement to distinguish between “true” and “false” emergencies.

The heralds do not usually make “personal” announcements (“John loves Mary”), announce lost-and-found items (except vital ones, like car keys, or extremely valuable ones, like cameras), or make advertisements (“Visit Richard the Tricky’s Used Camel Emporium!”). If you are asked (or bribed) to do commercials, you may do so -- as an extremely loud private citizen. At the end of your shift, remove the regalia and make any announcement you want to. Just don’t make these announcements when you are the Voice of the Crown. The College of Heralds does not have a monopoly on loud voices, nor do we censor free speech (or paid announcements).

If you aren’t sure whether you should make an announcement, or if someone is insisting on an announcement you feel is inappropriate, refer the matter to a senior Herald. If there is no senior Herald available and the announcement is in any way “official”, make it. If it is not “official”, you can remove your tabard and make the announcement as a private citizen. The situation you are trying to avoid is making announcements while you are acting as “Herald, Voice of the Crown” that are not “part of your job”.