Losing Control: Can Media Relations Specialists Get a Grip?
This is the first posting of 4 part series on media relations.
Media Relations specialists are losing control because of lightning speed changes that are impacting the world today. There is no doubt that the world of journalism is at major crossroads. According to a recent study commissioned by The Media Center at the American Press Institute, media futurists predict that by 2021 "citizens will produce 50% of the news." Given this, many say that the future of the media will rely less on how the media help shape the news and encourage the democratic process, but more on how well the media is able to stimulate conversation and create dialogue. These changes in turn, are creating new challenges for the media relations specialist.
The ability to guide the message and "own the story" traditionally had been the backbone of media relations. Today experts have to stay more focused to maintain their messages. Reporters are now not only getting their information from traditional sources but they are now getting ideas and even quotes from Twitter and other blogoshpere sources. Reporters are now looking for story ideas, trends and even points of view from people's blogs and tweets. Some reporters are even following customer service comments that are easily accessible online through corporate websites. From these comments, good or bad, entire stories are generated. If one is looking for a voice, thousands of people are ready to speak. Everything is ou there to be shared so no wonder the idea of controlling the story is a quaint and almost forgotten notion. That's why media relations must re-invent itself so that it can continue to be effective in a social media world.