Media management… Interesting concept. Since the beginning of this course I have had this overarching idea that PR should encompass all communication. Through recent personal experiences this has been solidified. How effective is a communication plan or strategy in improving reputation, if another person/department/discipline is communicating in a completely different way? I think this is why the controlled vs uncontrolled media discussion has intrigued me, and perhaps intimidated me.
Working on the organising team for a tiny event in February this year, I had an interesting experience that frequently returns to mind. There was discussion about a media release about a week before the event. It wasn’t a priority for the main organiser, but he was convinced by someone who had experience in such things, and it went ahead. The next day, a journalist and photographer rocked up, and the day after, there was a fantastic piece in both print and online media! The event was very successful.
I thought this was quite fantastic. Our little project was accepted by the powers that be.. The gatekeepers. The tutorial exercise was helpful in understanding this. I can see now that the release reflected the newsworthy values our event possessed. It had proximity, timeliness, human interest and the extraordinary.
This was a hugely positive experience, and the coverage was a great reflection of the event, the organisation and our goals. It is all too obvious though, that at one time or another we won’t be so fortunate. Hopefully maintaining a positive relationship with both the media and the local publics, we can keep it to a minimum.
So a few posts ago, I used the term ‘dipstick’ to describe people who aren’t really transparent about their NFP involvement. I’m considering finding a stronger word for the organisers of The Colour Run. Lets play spot the difference…
Item 1: Email Exchange
Thanks for your email!
The Color Run™ is not a charity or non-profit organization. The Color
Run, LLC is a “for profit” event company.
In each city, we ask a local organization to be our charity partner.
The number one goal of The Color Run™, as it relates to charities, is
to increase cause awareness. We want to help shine a light on
important issues. We hope our Color Runners™ will spend time on the
website of our partner charities, join mailing lists, attend other
events hosted by the charity and become an advocate for these causes.”
Item 2: Article from Monday’s Advertiser…
Hmm. It turns out the ‘charity’ recipient is the vaguely named ‘Celebrate Life Foundation’ – a very discreet branch of Swisse. I can’t describe how mad this makes me.
On another note, I stumbled across this video on Facebook, and it reminded me of the lecture on the power of words by Dr Schultz…
This week filled some fundamental knowledge gaps for me. I understand the value of media coverage, and the media release process, but what ends up on the cutting room floor and what ends up in the media has always seemed abstract and subjective. Since the tutorial exercise of identifying newsworthy values in stories, I feel as though the gap is filled. In particular, the concept of proximity was really interesting. It makes sense that readers care about issues that are geographically close, but when looking at global issues in the news, it seemed to me that there was also social/cultural proximity. Issues that have geographic distance can still have proximity if they have strong cultural or social relevance. I hadn’t thought so explicitly about the timeliness of it either. It’s obvious now, that things that don’t make the news one day, may well make the news another day, depending on other events or coverage. It’s clear that media awareness is going to be really important. The examples discussed this week have shown me that its not just about hoping that a journalist or editor finds your work interesting enough to cover, but that being aware of what is newsworthy at a particular moment enables you to optimise the way that you communicate about your work to maximise publicity and coverage. It’s also about being aware and opportunistic. The analogy of surfing comes to mind. Watch the waves, ready with your board. Sometimes you have to bide your time, or change position/strategy, but then you pick your chance, and paddle like mad.
Personally, I have found this topic really interesting. As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, CSR is something that I could see myself working in, and I find resource dependency theory and other elements of community PR fantastic problem solving opportunities. This is the first time I have thought about CSR in an every day/every organisation capacity. It’s not a multi billion dollar technology company giving products to disadvantaged school kids to counteract public perception of corporate greed or environmental apathy, but the ground level efforts to make sure that your operation benefits society. Coincidently, something that was said at the Richard Branson lecture on Wednesday I find quite fitting for this topic… “If we can get every business in the world to adopt problems and fix problems, then we’d be well on the way to fixing the worlds problems.” I am so intrigued by the concept of social license. The tutorial scenario really solidified for me some key ideas behind PR and why I have chosen it. Through exploring social license, resource dependency, public and stakeholder management, CSR and probably many other things, the concept of establishing a homeless shelter went from just helping the homeless, to also educating, engaging and broadening the perspectives of a whole other community. So on one hand you have a community questioning the appropriateness of the centre, and on the other hand you have a whole community thinking, talking and acting on a fundamental social issue. Wow.
I have just heard Clive Palmer on Q&A responding to Queensland residents about coal mining and its effect on the environment of the state.. I think he needs a few PR in the community lessons.
while the lecture content this week didn’t really introduce any fundamentally new concepts, it was interesting to see the combined application of a few of the different topics we have studied. It is becoming clear that the identification of publics and stakeholders goes much further than just a way to target a message. The grouping if traditional publics seems like a very useful tool for facilitating a thorough identification of publics, making it possible to apply stakeholder management theory.
Having said that, I find that stakeholder mapping seems to be a never ending process. The example we did in the tutorial this week, I could have spent hours narrowing down and down each group. I’m curious to learn more about determining how broad or narrow my stakeholder or public analysis needs to be. When is a broad grouping sufficient, and when do we need to really narrow it down?
Before this course, I hadn’t really thought about news media as a public before, but it makes a lot of sense. I’d always thought of the public, and the media. Separate entities. Separate focus. But the notion of media as gatekeepers puts it in perspective. I also hadn’t thought of governments as publics, but that makes sense in a similar way.