Posts Tagged ‘Journalist

18
Feb
11

Spin doctor or just Alistair Campbell?

I went to the Q&A session at De Montfort University last night with Alistair Campbell in the hot seat. I was really interested from a PR point of view and wondered what he would say about spin doctors and the future of the media.

First of all it needs to be said that this man has a way with words. I was very impressed by the things he said and how transparent and honest he seemed (or is this all the magic of the spin doctor?). He was very clear that he doesn’t mind talking about his past especially the pornography (no, he was not  a pornography pin-up but writer for pornographic magazine Forum) part and the alcohol addiction.

The Q&A session started with a few pre-selected questions and then the chair opened up the floor and everyone could ask Alistair Campbell a question about anything. 

An interesting point Mr. Campbell made was that the media is not always truthful and does sell stories that aren’t true. For instance the story that he was going to start managing a football club. Campbell phones the journalist and told him that the story wasn’t true and the journalist replied by saying: “I know but it’s a good story”. So does this mean that journalists are mainly selling us lies because they think we like to hear stories that are untrue but seem interesting and entertaining?

Journalist are trying to keep their grip on the agenda and want to have the power of deciding what we talk about as the public. They thought they were loosing their grip on the agenda setting because the government and politics had the upper hand in setting the agenda.

The point Alistair Campbell made is that media is trying to come up with stories that sell more newspapers but this isn’t really what the public wants and therefore the media is not going to change until the public demands a change from the media. This is a very interesting point made.

Another point that I found interesting was that Alistair Campbell said that the true spin doctors are the journalists. Journalists write a certain way to make things seem different from what they actually are and during Campbell’s spin doctor period for Tony Blair he was trying to set these stories straight. This was then seen as spinning. Who do we believe the former spin doctor or the media? Interesting topic I would say.

Interesting person to follow on Twitter, his tweet from last night was nice, or was het only being kind? Once a spin doctor always a spin doctor?

“Terrific session with students from De Montfort University. Bright, engaged, really good questions. Wouldn’t advise Dave or Nick to go there.”

Have a look at his blog:

 http://www.alastaircampbell.org/blog/2011/02/18/hezza-signals-discontent-at-lack-of-cameron-grip-but-osborne-wont-u-turn-yet/

He even mentions DMU in his latest blog post!

Got the book and he signed it to my mum from me and my new best friend. Thanks for that again Alistair Campbell!

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16
Feb
11

PRFilter?

Today I was thinking about a topic to write a research based essay on that had to do with my work experience and that is relevant to my MA course in public relations. I have always been fascinated with press releases, how these are written and how they are used to pitch to journalists. This will have to be the topic of my new research based essay.

I am in the library now just surfing around on the web and looking for external blogs to comment on (if you have any good ones then please let me know, it’s for my online portfolio assignment) and saw a tweet on Twitter by CitySavvy. This is a Pan-European financial and corporate communications agency that I used to work for. They tweeted this:

CitySavvy Ltd @CitySavvyPR CitySavvy Ltd

New search engine dedicated to press releases launched: http://tinyurl.com/6al9qe2

This sparked an interest and I clicked on the url that was given and found an interesting little article on Communication Magazine’s website about the PRFilter.

This is apparently a new type of search engine dedicated to seek press releases that have been launched. It has thousand press releases every day and has been designed to save journalists and bloggers time. This application has been developed in the UK by RealWire and has already been tested by UK journalists and bloggers last year.

This news justifies that the topic I have chosen for my research based essay is a good one because it is something that is going on now. This blog post and topic links to one of my previous post on ‘what do journalists really want?’. In that post I found out that journalists (well the ones that had been spoken to by the DMU press office) wanted to be contact via email about press releases. The phone is hardly picked up to ring journalists and the old boozy lunches PR‘s and journalists used to go on to build relationships seems like a fairy tale now.

It seems like the whole PR business and being a journalist has become a lonesome and impersonal job to have. No more socializing except for Tweeting, Facebooking, using LinkedIn and now this PRFilter program.

The thing that still confuses me is that I don’t understand why there doesn’t seem to be a need for personal, face-to-face contact anymore. Or has this again got to do with the time journalists have?

I am interested in what you think as PR professionals, journalists and fellow bloggers about this topic. Do you think the media landscape is changing and is this PRFilter a positive thing? Let me know and leave a comment!

01
Feb
11

What do journalists really want?

Had an interesting talk with one of the members of staff in the DMU press office last week.

She does most of the story and quote pitching to the media about DMU.

Now, when I think of pitching a story to a journalist, I think phone. But apparently my thoughts are very wrong. My views of a press office or PR department has always been about phones ringing off the hook and PR’s running about taking journalists out for boozy, luxurious lunches! But apparently and from experiencing different placements at PR companies, my views aren’t entirely true.

Apparently using the phone to ring up a journalist to tell him/her about a story they would be interested in is not done at all.

Journalists prefer you to write them an email pitching a story. But not just any old email, no, there are requirements to this email that need to be followed. PR’s need to get straight to the point in the email and keep it very short and simple.

This confirms that, as you can read in my previous blog on press release writing, press releases are the most common way of PR’s contacting journalists. Now I know why.

Funny that most PR agencies or in-house PR departments still think you should ring a journalist instead of bombarding them with emails.

But for some reason I don’t really see the logic of why journalists prefer emails to phone calls. I have a thing about logic, and most people won’t find my logic very logical. But I will give it a go at explaining it.

In previous research for one of my essays about the relationship between PR’s and journalists one of the main conclusions was that journalists have less time to go out and find stories and go out for lunches with PR’s to create good relationships. Journalists have become desk bound. This means that journalists are just churning out stories from information that PR’s are sending them via email.

This is all very logical but then there is no relationship between PR’s and journalists and I think this is an important issue. PR’s and journalists need each other and should therefore have a good relationship.

But isn’t it much nicer to speak to a friendly person on the phone than exchanging emails every time? Emailing is so impersonal. Not that all journalist are friendly on the phone, especially when on deadline!

We are all to bound to our computers, laptops, smartphones and iPad now a days. We post everything online and hardly speak to each other anymore. But for a relationship to work you have to speak to each other.

Have gone off track a bit from pitching to the relationship between PR’s and journalists but I would like to hear your views on either of these topics. Or on logic for that matter!




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