2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Matt Harrington, Edelman, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

September 7th, 2010
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Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the media relations summit for Bulldog. We’re joined by Matt.

Matt, will you please introduce yourself?

MATT HARRINGTON: Certainly. I’m Matt Harrington. I’m the U.S. CEO for Edelman.

BURKE: Now, Matt, you just did a panel on the future of public relations, and you were talking about skills and attributes that you’re looking for. What are you looking for in your future PR practitioners to separate your business from others?

HARRINGTON: Well, for me it’s still very much the fundamentals: the inquiring mind, the ability to write well, and to have an understanding of the broad aspects of a client’s business, as well as the particulars of their business. But it’s now–there are added layers of complexity, if you will. There are more opportunities, more channels, more stakeholders that we all have the opportunity to engage with and build relationship on behalf of our companies, and so you need to just have a very wide view on the world. And the best access point is to be digitally savvy and understanding the channels online, whether it be the blogosphere or the world of Twitter, but also, more importantly probably, is the emerging technologies that are enabling us to help get our stories told. I think this is easier, actually, for the folks just entering our industry now because they actually are digital natives. So they don’t know another world. So the fact that they’re living in a three or four-screen world, that’s the way it’s always been. So their ability to manage that sort of attention deficit world is easier, perhaps. But at the core, it’s still about communicating. And more now than about telling the story or pushing a message, it’s about engaging an end audience and building a relationship with them. And that, I think, is the really exciting opportunity for our industry.

BURKE: Great tips for all of the public relations professionals. And where can people find you in social media?

HARRINGTON: On Twitter @mharring, as well as by edelman.com and on Facebook at Matthew Harrington.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

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