Posts Tagged ‘magazines’

PR Tips for Dealing With Digital Journalism from Community Service Public Relations Council

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Flickr Image: atriumIn St. Louis, three web managers/editors from local TV, radio and print media outlets discussed how to create web- and social-friendly content. At this Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC) luncheon, the media panelists explained what kind of information they sought for their websites, how they integrated social media, and how nonprofits (and others) could best work with them.

The panelists were:

  • Kelsey Proud, web producer, St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 KWMU, University of Missouri St. Louis
  • Jill Hampton, web producer, My Neighborhood St. Louis,,,
  • Greg Jonsson, breaking news editor at / the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After a brief introduction, the panelists talked about how journalism has changed in this digital world, and how public relations professionals could help make their jobs easier.

In the early digital days, there was insistence (in broadcast media) that they must break the news on-air first. That notion is gone. Today, breaking news happens online, followed by a more in-depth vetted story on-air. 

The biggest change of all is that content is now shared across the various platforms. Radio is no longer just audio, TV is no longer just video and, of course, newspapers / magazines are no longer just print.  I like the line one TV station GM used a while back about no longer being a TV station “but rather we are a local news organization that is platform agnostic.”

Some of the panelists’ tips that I found noteworthy for PR pros:

  • Everything needs to be interactive to get the best user experience.
  • Every journalist is now a ‘one-man-band.” For example, radio reporters are learning how to utilize images and/or video to get better exposure.
  • Press releases are still the number one way to share a story with them. Kelsey says, “No matter how much we complain, we ARE grateful for press releases.”
  • Even though they just stated that content is cross-platform shared, a good TV story still needs to be very visual.  Even for radio, online is visual so include image(s).
  • Your press release should point to the organization’s online newsroom for background information and additional details. NOTE:  Keep the online newsroom up-to-date! Jill said her pet peeve is “getting a release, going to the website only to find the last press release was posted over a year ago.”
  • Include links to organization, event, social media profiles, and images.
  • Do NOT include cute graphics, or attach Word documents or hi-res images.  Most won’t open them, and sometimes their email system strips them out so they’ll never see them anyway.  Instead, provide links to your online photo gallery—low res images are just fine for the web. 
  • Keep the information straight-forward. Greg says they have no time for “flowery language.”
  • Finally, yes, it’s okay to alert a journalist to a story via Twitter—just not incessantly.

While none of this advice is revolutionary, I believe it’s important to periodically hear it “from the horse’s mouth.”

PR pros, please share any feedback you’ve received from members of the media. Or, if you are a journalist, please share how your job has changed in the digital era, and what we, as PR pros, can do to make it easier.

News Organizations Sometimes Bend the Rules of Engagement to Keep Up with Today’s Frenetic Pace of News Cycles.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The 24 hour news cycle is nothing new. It started in 1980 with the launch of CNN, the very first 24 hour news channel. Prior to cable news we relied on the newspaper, radio, or the evening news broadcast to find out what was happening in the world. And if a big story broke during the day or after the news broadcast chances were we would be informed by having our favorite TV show interrupted with a special report from the affiliate’s newsroom.

Over the last few years, however, the rate at which we receive the news has been accelerating and, believe it or not, promises to become even more immediate. Some news organizations are applying extreme and sometimes controversial business practices to keep up with this increasing pace and to survive in the highly competitive online news space.

With more pressure to deliver content to their followers, organizations like Politico and Gawker are helping to ratchet up the intensity to an even higher level when it comes to reporting the news. Pre-dawn start times at agencies tortoise_Hare1along with bonuses tied to the number of pageviews a reporter’s story garners are adding to the sense of urgency in which a story is posted online. Tracking how many people view articles online is becoming a higher priority not only at new media, but old media as well – creating an environment to see who can post the most exclusive stories the fastest.

As a result, when a major national story is in the midst of breaking news, the rules of engagement sometimes become a bit blurred, with more outlets favoring “cut and paste reporting” over actual journalism. Last month Rolling Stone magazine was about to post the General McChrystal story in which he and his aids were critical of the White House – first sending an advanced copy of the story to the Associated Press (customary for magazines trying to promote a story) with some restrictions. But before Rolling Stone had a chance to publish the story on their website, on their scheduled date, two major websites (Politico and decided to post a PDF of the entire story to their respective sites.  

Although it was seen by some as a breach of copyright and professional best practices, both companies explained that they posted the story as it was unfolding. Since Rolling Stone didn’t immediately post the article itself they decided to move forward on their own.  Eric Bates, executive editor of Rolling Stone, didn’t see it that way. Voicing his concern not only from his magazine’s perspective but from an industry perspective, he called it a “transitional moment,” adding, “What these two media organizations did was off the charts. They took something that was in pre-published form, sent to other media organizations with specific restrictions, and just put it up.”

However, the exhausting pace of online news isn’t just taking its toll on the media organizations themselves. It is also coming at a price to the individuals supplying the content. The longer hours and added pressure to constantly come up with exclusive stories has contributed to an increased turnover of staff at online news organizations with more journalists facing burnout at a younger age. A dozen reporters recently left Politico in the first half of this year and it’s very common for an editor to leave Gawker after just one year.

While some may debate the future of the media, one thing is certain: The online media race is on.  I’m just not sure if slow and steady wins this one.

Do you think that the media and their audiences, are biting off more news than they can chew?  As a public relations professional, what do you think about news organizations bending the rules of engagement to keep up with today’s frenetic pace of news and how does this impact the way you conduct media relations? If you’re a journalist or blogger, how are you handling the added pressure of constantly having to deliver? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Multipliers: A Way to Establish Correlations Between Audited Circulation and Readership Or Just Fluff?

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

by Carol Holden*

Ever since taking over the reins of the BurrellesLuce Media Measurement department, more years ago than I wish to claim, I have heard a persistent question from clients: “What is an accurate multiplier to use with the audited circulation for print media to give a more realistic readership measure.” “Isn’t there an overall industry standard to use?” It came up again as recently as this week.

Obviously the question is asked because many publications are passed around the household or office, and are available in every waiting room space in America.  And I have heard multipliers tossed about, anywhere from two to as much as seven, with little substantiation as to how the number was derived.

Our response to this question has always been that we do not recommend any multipliers because we have not found data to support any overall numbers that would equate to all newspapers, large or small, daily or non-daily. The same feeling holds true for magazines.

However, there is some research on the topic this month, produced by Scarborough Research and the Newspaper National Network, working to

Multipliers: A Way to

Flickr Image: atomicjeep

establish correlations between circulation (audited) and readership.

The examination of the two metrics was done using 25 major daily printed newspapers – although not all were in the top 25 – ranked by total circulation as reported in the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The following are some of the conclusions the study draws:

  • Readership and circulation are highly correlated and have been moving in the same direction over time.
  • Readership is decreasing at a slower rate than circulation.
  • The analysis found that Readers-Per-Copy is increasing.
  • The readership metric facilitates apples to apples comparisons with other media, which rely on audience estimates.

Although I found the report interesting, I would still be hesitant to make recommendations to a client who wished to add a multiplier because:

  • I would not feel comfortable using the findings from this type of report outside of the specific 25 newspaper media universe studied, such as applying the multipliers to smaller daily or non-daily newspapers.
  • Because readership/circulation illustrates “opportunities to see” rather than eyeballs, I would be wary of advising a client to make an apples to apples comparison to other media that rely on audience/visitor estimates.
  • The New York Times reported on April 26, 2010 that: “In the six-month period ending March 31, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported Sunday sales dropping 6.5 percent and weekday sales 8.7 percent compared with the same six-month period a year ago. The figures are based on reports filed by hundreds of individual papers.” With the landscape changing so quickly, how long would multipliers even for the subset of 25 newspapers analyzed be valid?

What methods do you use to judge the reach of campaigns in print media? Do you incorporate any type of multipliers in your data and if so how did you come up with them and support them going forward. Are there any other “fuzzy” numbers that you use? And for those not using multipliers, how are you qualifying those opportunities to see? How are you distinguishing them from circulation and eyeballs? Please share your thoughts and experience with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.


Bio: I’ve been in the media business all of my adult life, first in newspapers before going full circle and joining BurrellesLuce, where I now direct the Media Measurement department. I’ve always enjoyed meeting and especially listening to the needs of our customers and others in the public relations and communications fields; I welcome sharing ideas through the Fresh Ideas blog. One of my professional passions is providing the type of service to a client that makes them respond, “atta girl” – inspiring our entire team to keep striving to be the best. Although I have been lucky enough to travel through much of Asia and most major U.S. cities for business or pleasure, my free time is now spent with my daughter, visiting family/friends, and of course the Jersey shore. Twitter: @domeasurement LinkedIn: Carol Holden Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Magazine Ad Value Per Minute Study- Relevance or Selling Their Own Hype?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

A recent article on MediaDailyNews describing a report by Magazine Publishers of America, revealed an index comparing TV, online, radio, newspapers, and magazine advertising values. After an apparent shift in supported data there appears to be a new opinion and a new metric for successfully measuring these values. When Time/Ad Impact Ratio is applied to major consumer media it implies magazines carry more than twice the impact of TV, online, radio and even photo courtesy of Johna Burkehigher than traditional newspapers. While this appears to be an attempt to create a new metric supporting this thesis I discourage PR pros from giving this too much credence.

Using Ad Value Equivalency (Media Value) as a media measurement metric is a common PR practice, but not considered a best practice. BurrellesLuce counsels practitioners who are required to show AVE to use it as an index over time vs. a stand-along metric. If you currently provide AVE as a metric of media measurement, the “best practice” is to only use the portion of the article specific to your mention. While there are those who will immediately dismiss the relevance of AVE the reality is there are still executives demanding this evaluation. Realizing there is a certain amount of trust that must be built up before you can convert AVE advocates we want you to know you have a support system with BurrellesLuce. By using this as one metric in an index where you will likely see some correlation practitioners will ultimately be able to provide a more holistic (quantitative and qualitative) analysis to raise the profile of public relations.

While I don’t subscribe to the theory that magazine advertising is more credible I know I don’t want to go without my beloved glossy pages. I believe within the thinning pages of Time and Fortune lies some of the only remaining investigative reporting. The thought of being without magazines is ghastly as long as the “please discontinue use of all portable devices” rule is in effect on every flight.

Can you imagine waiting for your dentist, doctor or hair appointment without the companionship of magazines?

Social Media PR Pitching – Is It Passing You By?

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Do you sometimes feel like the rules are changing faster than you can keep up with and they’re passing you by?  You aren’t alone!

Don Bartholomew recently wrote a post where he states, “While traditional media relations will continue to play a role in public relations programming, its importance and impact is shrinking…”  He goes on to say that, “The best PR programs today take a broad, holistic view of the various avenues to engage with customers and prospects – traditional media, social media, community involvement, grassroots events – and attempt to do so in ways the customer/prospect respects and prefers.”  He then quotes the declining numbers of newspapers.

Traditional media relations and pitching are changing but not as fast as some would like you to believe. I recently read a post where the tally shows there were more (Canadian) magazine launches than closures this past year. And historically, all the best PR programs have used a variety of means to get the word out. When I worked at Shandwick (now Weber Shandwick) as long ago as the early-mid ‘90s (yes I’m that old) we pitched the print and broadcast media as well as planned and executed community grassroots events. 

A good, solid PR plan still typically begins with a media database such as BurellesLuce Media Contacts but definitely doesn’t end there. New social media may offer you many additional pitching opportunities today but don’t dismiss traditional print media just yet! 

What avenues are you using to reach out to the media?  We’d love to hear your feedback.