Vox and BuzzFeed Interviews With Obama Show Changing Nature of Media Relations

buzzfeed-600x400PR pros are well aware that the rapid changes in marketing communications demand a different approach to media relations. But sometimes it’s tough to make the pivot, especially when C-level execs continues to clamor for coverage from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other top-notch media outlets.

Landing coverage in such august outlets is a goal that PR pros should strive for, of course, but it’s also incumbent upon communicators to strongly consider some of the digital media platforms that may have started off on the margins and are now creeping toward the mainstream.

They could take their media relations cue from President Obama, who in the last few weeks has aggressively pursued a media strategy focusing on reaching younger people and millennials by going beyond traditional media outlets.

On Monday Vox published an interview with Obama (conducted in January) while BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith will speak with the president on Tuesday. President Obama will also participate in a video shoot with BuzzFeed’s new video production unit, according to the Times.

Obama’s sit-down with BuzzFeed and Vox comes just a few weeks after he had an interview with several YouTube content creators. The president has also appeared on the comedy website Funny or Die and yakked it up with Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, which has a loyal following among younger people.

As millennials move into the decision-making process, the outlets they are growing up on need to be a part of the media relations conversation. These outlets have expanding audiences and a strong social media presence. PR pros shouldn’t box them into a cubbyhole but instead should see how they fit into the bigger picture of their overall communications strategy.

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1

  • Eric Saferstein

    The question nobody’s allowed to ask — “President Obama, considering
    the prevalence of large, confined crowds in the U.S. (stadiums,
    ballparks, motor speedways, etc.), shouldn’t the government explicitly
    warn fans that LEGITIMATE venue emergency evacuation orders do NOT come
    from their personal cell phones?”

    Reason being — it would be a malicious hoax designed to induce an
    “artificially generated stampede.” Not allowed to talk about killing
    unless there are weapons. Something to keep in mind as the U.S. has a
    bad habit of underestimating its enemies, both foreign and domestic.

    One more thing. I’m not the only one who knows about this. agsaf dot org