One of my pet subjects has been the power of media and also the advent of what is being described as ‘new media’. In recent years I have suggested that those are hoping to ‘fight’ against traditional reporting and stereo typing should create their own media. Now I’m not saying that this strategy should be abandoned but there is an opportunity to consider how the current media operates.
The whole arena of reporting got me thinking about the role of Press Relations and its role on influencing editorial chief’s, especially in leading periodicals and commentators sound bytes.
Wikipedia suggests that modern PR can be defined as the ability to evaluates a product or individual’s public perception through market research. Once data is collected and challenges are identified, solutions are presented in a campaign strategy to meet goals. Techniques may vary from campaign to campaign but some standard tools used are; press releases, press kits, satellite feeds, pod casts, web casts, wire service distribution of information and Internet placement. Others include entertainment product placement (television, events, celebrity), product launches, press conferences, media seminars, producing events, speechwriting, establishing partnerships and more is often required.
Last week I met a specialist in PR and he suggested that the media simply wants to ‘talk’ about stuff! In other words sometimes by being more creative or creating a ‘buzz’ around the things that we do can create an interest and therefore coverage. I then considered his point in the context that maybe we will not totally overcome the obessession of some media outlets to feature celebrity lifestyle or even scandals but we may be able to generate positive stories.
Interestingly, he also suggested that generally there was a negative tone to reporting news and views. When you think about it he s quite right. In the UK we may get a 30 seconds of a good news story at the end of News at 10 but it is often positioned as a quirk or even a funny item to lighten the mood. However, lightening the mood should not be at the cost of respectability or victimisation.
Take Bollywood’s relentless negative portrayal of some religions. The humour element is not global and on so many levels and occasions blasphemous. Yet, we appear to not be able to stop them. One suggestion could be to ‘push’ positive stories about people. Those individuals from different backgrounds that are helping communities. The theory being that negative images could be potentially knocked out by positive ones, i.e.: With enough good news in the air that celebrates life, maybe we can change the behaviour of editorial staff and ultimately the way that we should respect each other.