PR Roundup: CNN Touts Trump, COVID Emergency Ends, Best Times to Post on Social

Trump and CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins on Town Hall

For some organizations, the more things change, the more they stay the same. That may be the theme of the upcoming 2024 election cycle. (Wasn't it JUST the 2020 election cycle that went on forever?) Trump, contrary to all legal battles and dishonorable court losses, continues to be a media darling.

Another industry in which we hope things continue to change, particularly when it comes to emergency communications, is public health. While the COVID emergency designation may be lifting, every industry learned valuable communication skills not to be forgotten. When it comes to public health, too much communication is never enough.

And even though some social media platforms seem to be self-destructing, they remain a reliable communication tool for every marketer. We provide insight into the best times for prime social media publishing, below.

CNN Chair Defends Trump Town Hall

What happened: Many CNN viewers and loyalists took to social media to denounce a town hall special solely featuring former President Donald Trump and anchor Kaitlan Collins on May 10. Regardless of the backlash, CNN chairman Chris Licht applauded the event in a network-wide editorial call obtained by The New York Times the following day. 

Licht defended the decision to host Trump, regardless of his reputation to voice misinformation and falsities during broadcasts and on social media. 

“I absolutely, unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night,” Licht said on the call. “People woke up, and they know what the stakes are in this election in a way that they didn’t the day before. And if someone was going to ask tough questions and have that messy conversation, it damn well should be on CNN.”

Communication lessons: While some may consider this a brilliant move for CNN to engage a new audience, it seems to have left its current one out in the cold. Licht has made a point of wanting to make the network less partisan, and more open broadcasting polarizing issues.  

However, Licht’s decisions may not be moving the needle nor engaging the current audience. According to the latest ratings after the town hall, the numbers didn’t break any previous town hall records. 

Adam Abrams, partner, Seven Letter, says it’s understandable that the CNN audience feels whiplash, as “the company leans on a ‘most trusted’ reputation while [now] also giving a platform to people seen as dishonest.” Abrams believes CNN needs to remember to treat its audience with respect. 

“That might mean sharing how it plans to cover 2024, particularly the GOP primary and its current frontrunner,” Abrams says. “It might also mean airing similar events with other candidates regardless of ratings potential because being talked about is not the same as being trusted.”

Abrams suggests the network battle disinformation in real time. 

“They’re not powerless against lies on their air—deploying tools in real-time such as on-screen information or analysis breaks could tell the viewing audience whether candidate statements are honest and give on-air talent more support."

U.S. COVID Emergency Ends

What happened: After three years and 1.1 million deaths, the U.S. government ended the public emergency declaration for COVID on May 11. While some say it’s more than about time, others continue to be concerned about the virus and how they should carry on into the future. 

However, even with this announcement, a lot of facts are left up in the air. News coverage of this event has been minimal, and much-needed information on what exactly will change when the declaration lifts is not easily accessible and understandable for the public. 

Communication lessons: COVID revealed the necessity for public health to be everyone’s business. This included not just government agencies, but companies taking care of workers, community groups providing outreach, schools needing guidance on how to proceed, and more. Just because an emergency declaration ends, Richard Hatzfeld, Senior Partner, global public health, Finn Partners, says these lessons should not be forgotten. 

“The pandemic was a wake-up call to how we manage health systems resilience in the U.S.,” Hatzfeld says. “As the country moves away from emergency measures, we need to re-energize our approach to chronic disease prevention, routine immunization for all patient populations, health worker recruitment and retention, and access to care. Effective communications and advocacy campaigns can help address these and other issues.”

He adds that now is the time to invest in foundational assets to maintain trust during public health emergencies: including early warning systems, reliable and accessible rapid testing processes and clear messaging protocols. 

He also believes a commitment to building relationships for emergency communications should continue. 

“It’s also an important opportunity to build relationships with a wider array of leaders who are trusted by different communities to deliver important messaging,” he says. “And healthcare providers need to be given the resources to maintain their credibility as frontline messengers of crucial medical guidance during public health emergencies.”

Best Times to Post on Social Media 2023

What happened: This week Sprout Social released its 2023 Best Times to Post on Social Media report. The report includes days and times, but also important information on differences between platforms as social media publishing is never a one-size-fits-all strategy. 

Communication lessons: The Sprout Social Data Science team gathered this information by analyzing nearly 2 billion engagements across 400,000 social profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.

Some of the findings included: 

  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon are the best days for engagement across all platforms
  • Midweek mornings prove to be a successful time across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, while Pinterest and TikTok see higher engagement in the afternoons
  • Facebook engagement has shifted to match general business hours, where optimal times are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until early afternoon (generally 1 p.m.)
  • Users on TikTok engage more during midweek afternoons, generally Tuesday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Twitter peak times for engagement grew significantly compared to last year, with hours consistently at late morning to midday during weekdays—specifically Tuesdays through Fridays—starting at 9 a.m. through noon.

Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal