A place for media relations

The simple things in life are often the best. We are in a fast moving world where communication means we can all publish round-the-clock, and everyone can be a citizen journalist. Modern communicators focus on the changing world and can get fixated on new channels. Things are changing but some things also stay the same.

Simple old-fashioned media relations should never be underestimated. There is still a huge sense of achievement when you see something reach the pages of a newspaper or a TV or radio broadcast. It takes me back to the thrill of seeing my byline on stories. But I am concerned that this media work can get overlooked when we are developing and looking at new ways of working.

I know that communication is changing and professionals have to keep up-to-date with the latest developments. But we know there is a large section of the community that don’t use social media and we still need to find ways to connect to them. Having strong media contacts is as important now as it was some years ago. We can all publish but only the mega-famous will have the sort of following that will rival the main media outlets.

Knowing the key journalists for your sector and being able to have a professional working relationship is essential. I worry that in the era of new technology that can be used we will neglect this area of communication. There are many organisations who are now saying that information will be ‘broken’ first on their own channels, and the media will have to gather their details from what is released. But despite many years of people saying that newspapers are dead, it does seem to be a long lingering expiration.

There remains an important role for the media within the community, and particularly among those unwilling to use social media. I hope that professional communicators never lose the ability to develop contacts with journalists. Media relations still has its place among the communication mix. Communication is, of course, all about people and so understanding the media industry and the people involved is critical.

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Crisis comms, FCIPR. FPRCA, PRCA trainer, Chartered Assessor. Former PRCA Council chair. Women in PR ambassador.

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