Posts Tagged 'media relations'

Pitch Perfect: So are PR gifts considered ‘bribes?’

Gift GivingWe’re taking a brief hiatus to do some internal restructuring at PRDoctorChicago. But thank goodness, the world is full of meaningful content that can be shared from others through the Internet. To that end, here’s another timely re-post.

We’ve been writing about public relations versus lobbying and this post by Jill Downie for Al Arabiya English on “gifting” journalists comes as a natural extension of that post? Is giving freebies to journalists in return for coverage acceptable, prudent, ethical? If so, when? Under what conditions?

This post got our attention because it addresses one of the everyday dilemmas that PR pros deal with. It’s been our experience that common sense and common courtesy provide simple guidelines for some of the most basic of these issues. However, this post delves into the ethics of situations and practices that might not appear so clear. Hope you’ll read, enjoy and learn. Feel free to let us know below if you have questions.

One of the most debated subjects within the media industry is the grey area of gifting.    To read more, click link below.

Source: Pitch Perfect: So are PR gifts considered ‘bribes?’

23 things you’ll only understand if you work in PR

If you’ve ever wondered what daily life in public relations looks like, this article will give you a quick look of some of the highs and lows of the profession. Gotta’ love it!

Stockpiling Good Will: Media Lessons from Gen. David Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus giving interview in Iraq.

Taking a few weeks offline was good for gaining a healthy and considered perspective on some major stories in the news. We’ll be looking back on these stories over the next couple of weeks. But first, like everyone else, we were saddened by the downfall of Gen. David Petraeus. His uncharacteristic lapse in judgment and resulting fall from grace were both surprising and disheartening for a nation in need of heroes and leaders. Yet, some media reports suggest he may not be out of the limelight for very long. Why? Well, clearly, Gen. Petraeus is man of considerable intellect and talents. But if he emerges from this fray faster and stronger than some others have, it may well be due to his well-documented skills in cultivating media good will. So Petraeus’s fall from grace may hold a cautionary tale for PR pros and the C-suites they report to about building good relations with the media.

Gen. Petraeus was reported to have enjoyed good press for at least the past decade by careful cultivation of the media. In sum, his behavior can be described as what we at MediaWorks call “stockpiling good will.” Here are some clues on how he built up such enviable relations with the press and, perhaps, some lessons you can take away in kind:

Access. Gen. Petraeus understood that carefully doling out access was the “coin of the realm” for building trusted relations, and he did so, not simply by providing access via formal channels, but by providing access, up close and personal.  He was known for his regular phone “chats” with reporters; he took select reporters on his jogs; he took them behind the scenes in the command rooms and quarters where decisions were made. In one instance he even took a reporter with him aboard a Black Hawk helicopter to survey a battlefront. And wherever he took them, he gave each of them the sense he was taking them “close to the action.”

Engagement. Petraeus no doubt also scored major points with media by engaging them on flexible terms.  In granting such unusual access, Petraeus followed through by being agile in how he responded to reporters’ queries. Recognizing the limitations within each situation, he demonstrated he understood the “rules of the game” by providing information however it would be helpful—on record, off-record, on background, etc. In each case, reporters no doubt felt they were experiencing access, engagement, and ergo, candor, of a rare or unprecedented kind.

Enthusiasm and Insight.  Media love sources who can deliver good information in digestible chunks (the proverbial ‘good sound bite’.) Beyond­­­ the basic news release, news pitch, or one-time story strategy, Petraeus and his staff clearly understood what was required to advance a progressive story—and, apparently in most instances, they provided an impressive combination of insight and information that gives even the most complex story real “life”, with real human dimension. Yet, even in cases where the insights provided weren’t especially profound, the combination of access, engagement and enthusiasm made reporters feel they had been taken on a “unique” adventure and encouraged them to find meaning in the interaction.

So these appear to be some of the ingredients to Gen. Petraeus’s steady increase in popularity, with the media. While not exactly “top secret,” they are lessons missed frequently by companies in handling their media relations. Will Petraeus be able to use these tactics deftly in a public comeback? Are there lessons here you can extract for creating your own helpful media environment? Only time will tell ….

One Practitioner’s Review of 2011 Public Relations

What can we learn about public relations from the fractious events of 2011? Here are our thoughts on lessons provided by the mistakes and success of others.

Our 2011 Public Relations “Roses” & “Brickbats”


Jerry Sandusky & Penn State: The biggest PR mistake would be to take on Sandusky as a client. Even as this case wends its ugly course through the criminal justice system and the courts, we know that there are some practitioners just chomping at the bit at the opportunity to sign up this high-profile client. Yes, we know, we’ve heard it all before. “A PR agent is like a defense attorney–every miscreant deserves one.” If you believe that, then you should be barred from PR practice. PR will never maintain professional legitimacy if every alleged social predator and sociopath is able to find a “spin doctor” to plead his or her cause. In PR, as in society, some acts must be indefensible.

Anthony Weiner: Where do we even begin with a public figure who has admitted to the arrogant, half-witted behavior of former Congressman Anthony Weiner? We can all be glad that Weiner has graciously retreated from public life–at least for now–to mend his life, and especially his family life. Amen, and all good wishes to him. Perhaps after some amount of reflection and time away from public life, PR specialists will flock to represent what some–at least in New York, say is a really talented guy. Until then, goodbye and good riddance.

Let’s Wait & See

Netflix: What happens when you do the right thing the wrong way? Faced with an inevitably changing business model, Netflix  moved, apparently too aggressively, to spin-off its declining, old-school DVD mail-delivery service from its growing, and increasingly profitable, video downstreaming service. What CEO wouldn’t? Alas, the devil is in the details. Tone-deaf implementation–in the form on a sudden announcement about two different services provided by two different companies–led to a consumer revolt worthy of the reformulated Coke debacle. What should have  been good management judgement nearly ruined this once-popular company. Within months its stock value dropped by two-thirds. Ham-handed implementation and almost no regard to the convenience and versatility that loyal customers valued in this company nearly led to its downfall. Can good PR save Netflix? The company has clearly learned some valuable lessons about its customers and how to communicate with them. (For now, they’ve continued their existing business model, emphasizing the more profitable downstreaming in their marketing; income has rebounded.) Bet they’ve gotten a better sense for how to handle inevitable price increases!

A Rose

Starbucks: In a year, and possibly an era, when there aren’t a lot of large-scale good-news stories coming out of corporate America, we give Starbucks a rose for its Create Jobs for USA corporate social responsibility program. (We’ll be taking a closer look at this in our next blog.) For us, this program was a game-changer. It changed the quality of the discourse about corporate, political and civic leadership in America during a period that has been particularly bleak, divisive, and some might say de-moralizing. The program’s tackled some tough and touchy subjects today: unemployment, concentration of wealth, corporate mismanagement and executive accountability, civil discourse and public leadership, yet it’s championed a cause we can all believe in. Thanks, Howard!

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