Old skool v new media
Old skool v new media

We had another great CIPR Greater London Group event last night with BBC Head of Online Journalism Pete Clifton, Telegraph.co.uk Shane Richmond and PR Blogger Stephen Davis discussing the impact of social media on journalism and PR.

Facebook group members sent questions that were posed to the panel.

We had a very good debate and a lot of counter points from both sides of the fence.

The first question picked up on a leaked story that appeared in Press Gazette that said that The Guardian, of all places, was going to cut back its numbers of traditional reporters in order to focus more on new media.

The view was that The Guardian was doing what The Daily Telegraph had done in preparation of its move to Victoria a few years back.Both Pete and Shane stated that integrated newsrooms are the way forward and that the days of the traditional journalism were ending.

Stephen made a great point that PRs are just, well, lagging behind stubborn old hacks in adopting new media and social networking.Petedid share with us his experience in getting the BBC to change the way that it’s newsroom works.Really, as I understood it, a case of dragging a child kicking and screaming forward.

We then went on to discuss if social media has the potential to restore trust in the media?

Social media was very much running a tightrope, between gossip that media can’t run because of the lawyers.Having said this media organisations now find themselves with a tool that can tell it readers and viewers why they have decided to make such an editorial decision.High profile journalists like Robert Peston and Nick Robinson can go into detail on a story that they are running.Pete Clifton gave the prime example of how the BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson ran a story from the White House on his blog from his blackberry.A case of where social media gave him the opportunity of reporting a gaff by President Bush as it happened.The result of which led the White House Press Office from effectively banning him.

But what about non-aligned bloggers that are not members of the media pool?Well, as was said, they have a duty of been as careful about their stories as trained journalists, especially those that have good authority ratings.Getting stories right is a must for everybody.

Interestingly enough though when Stephen Davis was asked who would he give a story to, a journalist or a blogger with a high-authority rating – only choosing one of the two, Stephen said a journalist (he wanted to issue a story to both).Shane came in and asked why not a blogger first given that they are, to all intense and purposes, a journalist.

Finally that tool of our trade came in for debate, the press release, or as it often is, the pr release, given that they are often written in dour language.The question was, is it dead?

The answer, well, as you’d expect was a no.Not yet.Sending cold press releases to journalists is a no, yet the same thing is done to bloggers.And the results aren’t just bad for relations, they can be damaging.The rule of thumb is, develop a relationship with them, ask them if they want to receive press releases, treat them as individuals.Email them as people.Bloggers are influential, like leading columnists.So treat them with respect.

So a lot of debate, a lot of dicussion, some controversy and an equal amount of profanity.All in all, another great night, so if you missed it and want to come to the next event then join the 
group, and we’ll see you soon.

Let’s be honest, people are getting wise to the workings of the media. They know that each outlet has an angle on a story, which is why the views of bloggers has become so important to companies, brands and celebrities.

People subscribe to blogs, they read the latest posts and comment on them. Bloggers are people – not journalists, which is why PRs are often being asked to promote new products, new stories, angles of stories to bloggers that have real influence.

This, with the rise of citizen-journalism, is forcing companies and agencies to revaluate how they communicate with the public.

To discuss this the CIPR Greater London Group have brought together the BBC’s Head of Online Journalism Pete Clifton, Telegraph.co.uk’s Communities Editor Shane Richmond and PR Blogger Stephen Davies.

The event sold-out in record time, suggesting it is an important issue for PRs in London.

I’ll be brining you the latest comment and views raised on this.

The irony couldn’t have been greater.  Out came Heather Mills, dressed like a court jester, from the same High Court that was presiding over the inquest into the death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, the Queen of the Nations Hearts.  A Diana who often complained before her death about media intrusion, yet, at the same time was skilful operator of its dark arts.

Heather, purposefully marched towards the throng of notebooks, lenses and video cameras on Fleet Street.  Journalists and photographers awaiting yet another episode from the ‘Poor Me’ Heather World show.

This was a heather that was built up by the media, a media that did its utmost to separate her from real-life.And this was her undoing.Like Alice through the looking glass, she really did believe what the media told her, which is why, one assumes that she demanded so much for security and accessories to her lifestyle.After all, Judge Bennett let it be know that she was demanding £125 million from Sir Paul.And, after all, if her claims that he was worth double the nearly £400 million that the judge claimed he was worth then why did she want this figure rather than, say, £50 million.

It really is a case, of if you don’t ask you just don’t get.  But our Heather believes that she is worth that.The media gossip pages, the celebrity bibles have told her this every week, so, it must be the case.

Judge Bennett ruled that Heather Mills was “indulged in make-believe”, “was less than candid”, “had a warped perception” and was “devoid of reality.”  But was this also a damming indictment of the celebrity show-biz world?After all, Heather was built up by the celebrity journos who pulled her strings and pampered her egos.In fact to such an extent that she believes her own importance and hype, like many of the celebrities that fill our daily and weekly pages.  Yet what differentiates the good from the great celebs is that the greats, know their true worth and are able to keep one foot firmly on the ground.  The great celebrities know how to pander to those who promote them and help them make them money.

Heather, it must be said, forgot that basic rule.And she paid for it.And while a comeback can be rewarding, she’ll be carrying the anger of the nation on he shoulders, an albatross that will hover over her and remind her audience of her past.

Celebrity is a fickle beast and this week Judge Bennett said what we all suspected.  Yet, as he is not a regular in the celebrity circuit, his judgement on the celebrity world will sink without a trace.

I’ve discovered that being ‘off-line’ is not easy. It really is like going to the newsagents, picking up your newspapers and looking at empty space. Not only on the front page, but inside. There are no news stories, no features, no analysis, no picture stories, no gossip, no diary. Nothing. The anticipation of hearing somebody else’s opinion is lost. The opportunity to agree or disagree, to learn and think differently. Even to think, “what a load of b*llocks that is!” Continue reading “Back once again…”