Posts Tagged ‘CNN’


Print Is Dead, Print Isn’t Dead: The “Chinatown” Scenario of a Shifting Media Model

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Print Is Dead, Print Isn’t Dead: The “Chinatown” Scenario of a Shifting Media Model  Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasIf you happened to be searching for information on the state of print media, you’d encounter a classic Chinatown (spoiler alert) contradiction: Print is dying, it’s not dying, it’s dying, it’s not dying, it’s dying and it’s not dying!

Every morning, BurrellesLuce creates and distributes a daily briefing culling articles about the industry, and nearly every day there is an article extolling print’s comeback, and the next day, one about its continued decline. Time Inc. is laying off workers, but The Washington Post is expanding. Newspaper The Los Angeles Register will debut in print, but do print magazines have a future? Fashion magazines are posting growth in ad pages, but ad dollars are getting stretched thin by all the new website offshoots.

Newspaper publishers are losing money, CNN laid off 40 senior journalists, and many newspapers are now going without photojournalists and instead relying on citizens with smartphones. And yet, California newspapers will be carrying a new Sunday print magazine, and Net-a-Porter just launched its own print magazine. Sales of hardcover books were up last year, while sales of ebooks were down.

With print’s evolution of both expansion and contraction, perhaps the death proclamations are due not to the actual dying of traditional print media, but due instead to the fact that we call it “traditional” and “print.” In using the “traditional” label, we condemn print to a stuffy, rigid, outdated image when that emerging print publications are being integrated into online publications’ business models.

In talking about “print” and its death, perhaps what we’re referring to is not wholly the paper medium itself, but edited, high-quality journalistic content. It’s not a dead art form, but it is being overshadowed – and dominated – by online media powerhouses that have ushered in a new era of image-heavy, conversational, meme-focused free digital content.

This isn’t to say that modern online journalism is lesser than the content that preceded it, as many exclusively online sites provide insightful reporting alongside fun, sharable content. But the nature of crowd-sourced content creation, varying editorial standards, and prevalence of misinformation make online content as a whole a much more volatile medium.

It’s not just the “traditional” “print” media that’s suffering; publications are trying new strategies like native advertising, hiring more reporters and focusing on hyper-local news, and even those dynamic online outlets are scrambling to get by –  The Huffington Post has yet to post a profit and may even enact a paywall, and now digital magazine Slate will introduce a paid membership plan.

So perhaps what we’re talking about is more than a Chinatown scenario: it’s a shift in writing and reporting styles that’s tough to define, and a desire for free content that makes it tough for any online or paper medium to get by.

What’s your take on this shifting media model?

Issuing Citations: How to Quote Wisely and Accurately

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
flickr user Gage Skidmore

flickr user Gage Skidmore

A political and media kerfuffle ensued late last week after Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and former Republican presidential candidate, spoke at a Republican conference. Below is his full quote:

If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let’s take that discussion all across America because women are far more than Democrats have made them to be.

Soon after, CNN journalist Dana Bash tweeted this:CNN Dana Bash Tweet BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

Then NBC reporter Kasie Hunt tweeted something similar:NBC Kasie Hunt BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

These tweets, which did not accurately represent the context or content of Huckabee’s remarks, spurred a number of clarifications and a whole lot of discussion. Even in a political and media issue such as this, there are plenty of takeaways for PR pros:

Be sure of the proper context

Bash’s tweet made it sound like Huckabee said he thinks women are “helpless without Uncle Sugar.” The reality is he accused Democrats of thinking women are “helpless without Uncle Sugar.”

Quoting someone? Triple check you’ve got the context right. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what we know and what we write, so if you’re quoting anyone, make sure the quote and the surrounding content very clearly state the context of who said what. This is just as important, if not more so, when you’re summarizing in 140 characters or less. If it’s not crystal clear, don’t tweet it.

Tweet Wisely

Especially if you’re live tweeting. As Bash and Hunt both exemplified, tweeting with no or incorrect context leads to backlash and completely derails a conversation, especially if it’s political. Suddenly, the story focused not on what Huckabee said, but on the media getting it wrong (even though it was only two reporters out of hundreds).

PR pros are in a similarly visible field, and this is an era in which out-of-context or ill-thought-out tweets can land you in hot personal and professional waters (as Justine Sacco proved late last year), whether it’s warranted or not. Particularly if it’s your message at stake, or that of your industry, you don’t want the focus to shift from your message or meaning onto a silly mistake.

Edit without losing context

There’s an easy fix to Bash’s tweet. Had it been worded: “At RNC meeting @MikeHuckabee says ‘Dems believe women can’t control their libido w/o birth control,” the problem never would have arisen.

The first way to edit within context: listen fully. This means paying attention and not letting your personal opinion get in the way. Then, distill selectively. Determine what the two or three main points of the quote are and summarize from there. Remember: quotes are not malleable; either it was said, or it wasn’t. Be accurate from the get-go, because issuing clarifications or retractions detracts from credibility.

Quality over speed

The nature of Twitter means that live-tweeting has become not only de rigueur, but practically mandatory not only for journalists, but for people attending anything of note, like awards ceremonies or industry events. It takes a lot of concentration to listen to someone speak while quoting what they said two or three sentences back. Unless it’s expressly necessary and you can be sure you’re representing the quote accurately, be very careful when tweeting of-the-moment.

The demand for immediate tweets is a classic GIGO scenario: it takes our focus off of the importance of what’s being said, places it on being first to tweet it, and disregards sharing quality tweets.  When we put out words that haven’t been verified, checked, or thought-out, it shows.

Meet the Media: National Exposure – Landing Broadcast Media Coverage (Tips for Pitching)

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Alfred Cox*

3D Baseball PitcherPlacement on national broadcast television, including morning and entertainment programs, has always been the Holy Grail for marketing and public relations professionals. This is just as true today, even with the advent of digital technology and the changing media landscape. (Download the BurrellesLuce Infograph: The State of Broadcast Media.)

PRSA-NY organized a panel of experts who gave a peek into their shows and tips for how PR professionals can get their clients featured.

The event, hosted by Anchin, Block & Anchin, featured:

 

10 Tips for Pitching Broadcast

1.  Do your homework. All of the panelists commented that “knowing what the show was about” and “knowing the show’s audience” are a must when pitching. Raff commented, “Build a relationship. Watch the show, understand the connection of the show for your client, and follow shows with common interest.”

2.  Be relevant and timely. Topics need to be specific to the audience of the broadcast show you are pitching and timely. All the panelists agreed that “Breaking News” takes priority. Weber remarked that “same day pitching depends on the story, but is done quite often, especially with consumer stories.” Jarvis cautioned PR pros to “check the weekend news shows, including those from other networks” prior to pitching as she “won’t run the same story as the other weekend news shows.

3.  Know what you are pitching. “Always advise if it’s a paid spokesperson,” remarked Weber, and “don’t hold back vital information.”

4.  Know who you are pitching. Weber said that if PR pros use a “bad name” or the “wrong show” they won’t receive a return call.

5.  Pitch journalists using their preferred contact method. For Jarvis, Twitter is the best way to pitch her – even better than emailing, in fact.

6.  Keep pitches short. Crudup said pitches should include a brief paragraph and the email subject line should always be the topic. Weber agreed that “short and sweet” was the way to go. Raff cautioned to “plug the brand just once or twice via email,” while Jarvis only wants a “one or two sentence paragraph” for the pitch.

7.  Provide a compelling story. For the next two months the panelists are booking political conversations, pre- and post-election stories, and political interest stories. Raff commented that because of the elections, “celebrities and their options on the political arena” made for a compelling story. “Touching stories that affect all lives,” is another good topic. However, Jarvis advised PR professionals to “hold human interest stories until after the election.”

8.  Consider your spokespeople. When looking for guests, “crazy guests are good for ratings,” said Crudup, while Raff noted that “strong guests and/or erratic guests make the rating.” She also said that when pitching a human interest story, “the guest must be able to tell a story live.”

9.  Include video content with your pitch. All the panelists agreed that video content was important for both supplemental material as well as demonstrating the spokesperson’s ability on camera and relevancy of topic. Raff informed PR pros to “send an appearance from another similar show.” Crudup instructed, “Include a video from another show that is similar to Rachel Ray, not just an interview, but an actual TV interview,” so that he can see interaction with interviewer and interviewee. Weber also confirmed that sending a video “from other TV appearances helps make the decision on booking.”

10.  Understand that broadcast takes priority over digital. For Weber, “digital will always follow after the show” because “real-time TV is still the best trend.”

The key to successfully pitching broadcast media is about, as Jarvis remarked, “knowing where the opportunities exist and offering the key ingredients.”

What other tips would you add for pitching broadcast media? Please share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

***

Bio: Alfred Cox is a rare commodity of a performer who combines a relentless drive to succeed with the ability to provide “first-person” touch to his clients, creating loyalty and repeat business. He has a hard-nosed work ethic in a results- driven environment and he is often called the “Network King.” Alfred has been in the PR industry for the past 18+ years and joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2011. Connect with him on Twitter: @shantikcox Facebook:  BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Alfred Cox

Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell the difference between Fox and Hulu, HBO and Netflix, or CNN and YouTube.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

sneetchesThe recent jockeying for position and struggle to find an identity within the crowded and competitive world of network, cable, streaming video, and online television reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories, The Sneetches. The Sneetches were a group of yellow creatures, some with green stars on their bellies (a sign of distinction) and some without, until a character named Sylvester McMonkey McBean offers those without stars a chance to add them by going through his Star-On machine. In order to stay special the Sneetches formerly with stars happily pay the money to have them removed in his Star-Off machine. Ultimately this escalates, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next, and to quote the good Doctor,

“until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one… or that one was this one or which one was what one… or what one was who.”

The last few month, the news out of the “television” world has been very Seuss-like to say the least:

At this year’s winter TV press tour Kevin Reilly, entertainment president, Fox Broadcasting Company, revealed that his network plans to use web content as a development tool for the airwaves. “Something that starts in digital could be the next big primetime hit… We have an expertise, and a history, and proficiency, and a primetime audience base,” he confirms in this Atlantic.com article about 5 Ways the Networks Want to Change How You Watch TV. Reilly goes on to use Web Therapy starring Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame) as one example of a web-only series that has successfully made the switch and is now aired on Showtime.

In an effort to kick start their declining subscription base, Netflix is beginning to act more like a network rather than your average streaming video provider. By jumping into the original programming waters, Netflix plans to release three new series in 2012 – starting with Lilyhammer, a crime comedy set in Norway’s former Winter Olympics headquarters, starring The Soprano‘s Steven Van Zandt. Not to be outdone and fresh off a year where they realized 60 percent revenue growth in 2011, the web streaming service Hulu is launching its first ever original scripted series. Battleground, a mockumentary series described as “The Office meets The West Wing, premieres February 14, explains, this opinion brief on TheWeek.com.

And remember when YouTube was just a site where you could watch short clips of people doing funny and unusual things? Well, last week Reuters joined CNN and the BBC by unveiling its own channel to be shown on the popular video sharing site. The channels will show original content from Reuters on YouTube, which will allow them to leverage an army of over 3,000 reporters worldwide.

I doubt all the players involved with getting content to the masses will end up in blissful harmony like our friends the Sneetches, but it should be fun watching them run from one machine to the next having their green stars removed and re-added over again.

What are your thoughts? Please share them with me here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Missouri State University PRSSA Day: Media Myths

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

mascom_PRSSA_smallLast week, I was honored to be a part of Missouri State University’s PRSSA Day as a speaker on social media misconceptions. One of the myths that we discussed was “Social media will soon replace traditional media as the most viable source of news,” and I wanted to elaborate on that point. 

At least once every week, or so it seems, someone comes out with a “Traditional media is dead” article or warns that “We shouldn’t waste time on traditional media and advertising.” As a matter of fact, I read an article several months ago about a survey on the subject by PR/PA agency mergers and acquisition consultants, StevensGouldPincus. SGP managing partner, Art Stevens was quoted as saying, “If this trend persists within the next two years social media will replace traditional media as PR/PA’s primary tool for reaching client audiences with news and information. When you consider that traditional media have been the bedrock of professional PR/PA practice for more than 100 years, the implications are profound.”

I’ll concede that the preferred vehicle for news distribution is definitely shifting to digital, real-time and even mobile platforms and I’ll agree that the implications are profound to communicators and consumers alike; however, the source of most of that content remains the same: The percentage of original content found on social media pales in comparison to traditional media. In reality, most news content is first published in the print or web editions of major news outlets, and then syndicated or picked up on social media networks and blogs, confirms this BurrellesLuce newsletter on “Social Media Myths and Misconceptions“.

In fact, according to a Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism study last year, “Blogs still heavily rely on the traditional press — and primarily just a few outlets within that — for their information. More than 99 percent of the stories linked to in blogs came from legacy outlets such as newspapers and broadcast networks. And just four — the BBC, CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post accounted for fully 80 percent of all links.”

So, let’s face it, without traditional media, in whatever form, there would be very little news to fuel social media. Will that change in the future? Perhaps. But as of today, traditional media is NOT dead.

Even if it is, perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing after all… Because as Seth Godin recently wrote in a post entitled, Bring Me Something Dead: “Dead means that they are no longer interesting to the drive-by technorati. Dead means that the curiosity factor has been satisfied, that people have gotten the joke… Only when an innovation is dead can the real work begin. That’s when people who are seeking leverage get to work, when we can focus on what we’re saying, not how (or where) we’re saying it…”

What do you think the future holds?