The idea that most Americans have lost the ability to speak civilly to each other in these uncertain times may not be Robert Reich’s alone, but he offered an imperative specific to the 2,500+ communicators at the international PRSA confab—in an age when people don’t know how to talk to each other, or how to listen, it’s communications pros who must act as stewards and promoters of civility. “You are people who set the tone very much for what we and how we communicate,” Reich says. “And there is now a vitriol, and anger in the system. We are not communicating.”
We know change is difficult. And there are few professions where change has disrupted things more than journalism. A PR News study looks at how communicators have and have not changed their approach to pitching journalists. A Muck Rack/Zeno Group study examines how journalists have altered their approach to what they do each day.
It’s great when you’ve got a client who’s a leader in their market or whose product or service is a headline-grabber or springboard for social sharing. But what do you do with a smaller client who’s not a natural newsmaker and for whom PR may be at best, foreign and at worst, a distasteful chore?
Though he despised some of what the media said about him, John McCain believed a strong press was critical to democracy’s survival. As a result, he respected the media and made sure his staff did, too. This strong relationship with the media helped McCain to receive fair treatment from the press. In addition, during a difficult moment for the senator, the media came to his defense.
More than 350 newspapers ran editorials praising a free press today, the first large-scale effort to defend press freedoms. A bevy of PR trade associations issued a statement echoing the newspapers’ sentiments. On the other hand, new polls show a small majority (51%) of Republican voters believe the media is the enemy of the people, which is how the President has characterized the press of late.
It seems obvious that PR pros should keep stakeholders informed about the status of articles being pitched to the media. Sadly, this doesn’t happen consistently, argues James Rose, content head at IBA International. A weekly update sent to stakeholders will assuage some of the anxiety about when an article will be published and make the creation of content more of a collaborative effort.
There are few things more effective at establishing topical media credibility than a book. When an executive is a published author, answering the question, “Is this person a valid and credible source?” becomes far easier. While it isn’t easy to convince an executive to write a book, crafting one from blog posts your executive has created can be remarkably straightforward.
PayPal’s director of global corporate communications Amanda Miller cautions the next generation of PR professionals to realize that visuals, owned media and social are just a piece in an ecosystem that should include earned media, too.
At a time when PR pros are taken to be spinners, flacks and other relatively ineffective communicators, it is imperative to double down on truth telling. Pete Janhunen relays a story that illustrates this lesson and urges young people coming into the business to hold to the highest standards.
Whom do you trust? That’s become a bigger question in the fake news era for reporters. The PR practitioner plays a vital role building a relationship between brand experts and the media. The expectation is not that the media automatically will include our brand in an essay, but based on our relationship journalists should know they can trust us and those we put forward as resources.