Posts Tagged 'new media'

Exploring the Evolving World of Media, Technology and PR

Alternately as publicists, communications strategists, social media marketers, and general media advocates—in other words, as Public Relations professionals—we’re highly interested in the evolving world of new media, technology, and new methods and distribution channels for reporting. We understand that these developments are an integral part of what we do, and we’re pleased to be actively involved in some of these spaces. In the past few months we spent time away to examine more closely what’s happening in the fields of journalism, media, technology, and therefore public relations. We’re excited to post our first findings here.

Capping our activities, we participated in Illinois Humanities People-Powered Publishing Conference, subtitled “Innovation, Community, and the Future of Journalism.” As it turned out, this conference gave us a national picture of what’s happening in these areas.

A Changing Sense of Audience

To begin with, perhaps in the future, the whole concept of “audience” will change, or even diminish. Hearken, the company behind its namesake community engagement platform for news organizations, describes the audience as all of us, and the relationships we share with others.

audience-silhouette-black-large-panoramic-view-35594276

 

By this view, the “audience” isn’t consumers, or for PR purposes “publics,” sitting out there waiting to engage with us and what we do; the “audience” is our network of friends, associates and even strangers who we interact and engage with in some way on an ongoing basis. Think of it—as a practicing or aspiring journalist, PR person, social marketer, content developer or thought leader, you view yourself as an integral part of whatever community you’re looking to engage with, and not separate from it. Otherwise, you’re missing the point.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

When you’re in almost any business, especially media, PR, journalism and social networking, how we share information and receive feedback is vitally important. There’s a lot of study, development and, in some cases hand-wringing, going on related to how best to share, then receive and process feedback. In the real media world of today, much of that receiving feedback focuses on comments—how to receive them, what to make of them, and how best, or even whether, to respond them. Here’s a peak at how much actual science is going into how individuals are managing daily, or should be managing, such interactions as comments.

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Are you thinking about two-way conversation and feedback? Important questions:

1) whether comments are allowed;

2) what are the rules/guidelines for commenting and how are they customer-engagementcommunicated or monitored;
3) are comments curated or moderated, and who’s assigned those duties;
4) when we solicit feedback, especially in social media, are we too limited in our range of choices (e.g., like, share, comment, etc.)

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While we’ve always agreed that it’s not the best judgment to assign digital and social media curation to an intern, as many do, we wondered how much actual forethought organizations are giving to addressing crucial questions like those above, directly tied to audience engagement. It was also exciting to see that one group, the Engaging News Project makes the case for and offers additional feedback tools such as downloadable buttons for Respect, Important, Recommend, etc., for posted content.

Of course, your individual goals, objectives, organizational culture and policies, should guide answers to some of these questions. However, it was great for us as consultants and counsel to re-examine some of these questions to make sure we consider a wider array of options in making recommendations to clients.

Re-Emergence of Civic Journalism

What’s old is new again! Remember back in the 1990s (for those of you old enough to recall) the trend in journalism toward more participatory, collaborative reporting between journalists and community members toward what was considered the greater good. It was called civic journalism, and though the trend fell out of vogue, it never died in some places. With the further decentralizing of the news media, and news reporting capabilities now made possible widely via mobile, social and digital media, there’s a renewed push for more collaborative journalism between news reporters and community members. Be on the watch again for the terms civic journalism and “engaged journalism,” even “public journalism”—all of which speak to what the Democracy Fund, one of the organizations spearheading this media transition, describes as “transforming the relationship between news consumers and news producers.” (Overholser, Democracy Project)

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Some of the other organizations actively promoting more open and collaborative efforts include The Pew Center for Civic Journalism, which describes itself as “an incubator for civic journalism experiments that enable news organizations  to create and refine better ways of reporting the news to re-engage people in public life”; the Coral Project, dedicated to creating open source tools to further empower news content developers of all sizes; and university-based research centers such as the Engaging News Project, at University of Texas/Austin, mentioned above.

In addition to all of these, there are a number of working models and examples of collaborations between media and community organizations aimed at diversifying news gathering and news content. At People-Powered Publishing, several of those featured included experiments in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia and Kansas City, to name a few.

Technology

More specifically on the technology front, Mozilla OpenNews, enables peer-to-peer networking and problem-solving by techs, journalists and digital content producers to “help journalism thrive on the open web.” It’s an example of the kind of high-stakes networking, research and development, and collaboration taking place to maximize and support technological developments in the news business.

At behooves all PR pros to at least be aware of these initiatives, and to perhaps look for ways to participate and engage on behalf of their organizations or clients. The news business is changing radically right before our very eyes. It’s important for public relations professionals to be on the cusp of those changes.

New Marketing, New Media, New Public Relations: Why it’s a Great Time to Teach Communications

Communication concept isolated on white

Happy 2016! As we reflected on the lessons learned from the past that guide us into this new year, it dawned on at least one of us what a great time it is to teach communications. New approaches to marketing, new media channels, new public relations techniques all lead to newer business models, so it’s an exciting time to practice and to teach aspiring professionals. As PR pros, we’re enjoying the transition from older methods of practice to new technology and newer standards. And in teaching, we find an exhilarating exchange with students of older wisdoms to newfound truths. With that in mind here’s our list of why we’re not only thankful to be in PR, but equally excited to be teaching communications as a career path for the future.

Revolutionary Changesocial-media

While energy, dynamism, and, in some cases disruption, has always been a characteristic of PR, at no time in recent memory has it occurred as such a tidal wave on so many fronts. Today, changes in branding, images, skill sets, tools and channels is occurring at such a fever pitch, which is why “disruption” is now part of our modern vernacular.

Do-You Style

It would be hard imagining another time when personal style, branding and imprimatur were more celebrated. PR and communications today reflect more individual style, preference and prerogative than the industry has ever afforded. Beyond essential skills and expertise, success today is less the result of a well-worn pattern or formula, than of hard work, energy and verve. Consequently, all manner of creativity is being unleashed—some for good, some otherwise, but the marketplace of ideas will sort it out. For aspiring and practicing pro communicators, the path to a successful career has never been more open to different personas, styles, acumen, knowledge, interests and lifestyles. Consequently, it’s tremendously exhilarating to help developing pros find their own brand and voice.

Evolution of cellphone graphic

Changing Business Models

Change isn’t solely the domain of the communications industries; structural change is occurring daily in our economy and changing business models are rampant throughout the entire business sector—retail, manufacturing, technology, professional services, healthcare, etc. Even the business model for nonprofits is in flux. Communication pros and businesses are experiencing it all together, and pro communicators who take the time to understand and invest in being a part of this new and still emerging economy will be on the cutting edge of future growth.

DiversityDiverse Businesspeople

We take our colleagues at their word that efforts to continue to strengthen all levels of the profession through diversity are not only real, but they’re also a priority. But it’s also exciting to help push and shape the agenda for a world that’s increasingly diverse and for a more diverse profession. We hope to continue to be a part of that continuing drumbeat for diversity inside classrooms as well as in the work-a-day world and professional ranks. Greater diversity is the only honest option for communicators in all media-related professions in a now-global, and increasingly diverse world.

 


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