By Kyle Austin
June 10th, 2009
The Media Meltdown was in the Spotlight at the T3PR Conference; As was the Publicist-Journalist Relationship - Video Courtesy of LMcDuff08
Getting a group of public relations professionals in a room to get feedback from journalists they interact with is always a good thing. While social media has spawned the era of two-way conversations, most journalist and publicist dialogue is still like two ships passing in the night – they’re both trying to get somewhere (vastly different places) and never establish baseline communication.
The “media meltdown,” which Forrester analyst David Card illustrated to kick-off PRSA’s T3 (Theory, Tactics and Technology) PR Conference in New York on Tuesday (RaceTalk’s live-tweeting), only amplifies the need for further conversations.
While it wasn’t the overt theme of Tuesday’s event (Twitter dialogue here),the public relations industry – like the marketing industry as a whole – is tied to the media industry, witnessing a potentially deadly mixture of a market meltdown combined with a digital evolution. With the media industry’s back up against the wall, the public relations industry finds itself in its shadow. Forced to evolve or die, just like newspapers.
With that in mind, it wasn’t a surprise that those of us in attendance saw some great presentations from David, Josh Hallett, Shonali Burke , Beth Murphy and others on the true power of connecting directly with consumers through social media (downplaying PR’s reliance on traditional media to get messages across).
At the same time we had Peter Ha of Crunchgear talking about how he gets the majority of his news organically - without talking with publicists - and Caroline McCarthy saying how Twitter has replaced Profnet (and maybe even HARO) for her when identifying sources.
This disjointed dialogue gives the appearance that social media is actually distancing journalists and publicists even further. However, as John Geddes of the New York Times noted in a recent newsroom interview – “The best of each group (still) need one another.”
The truth is, now is the perfect opportunity for publicists and journalists to foster better relationships in tackling social media. We’re all arbiters of the news and members of the online community after all.
Just as Tom Foremski collaborated with Brian Solis on outlining how to reshape the PR industry, the PR industry can support and assist the traditional media as they try to move their content and reader engagement online.
In addition to solving real problems, it could improve perceptions and relationships on both sides of the equation. As they say, don’t waste a crisis.