Sunday, 19 April 2009

Should PR Students Network?

I was asked this week to start researching an article for behind the spin regarding the subject of whether PR students/graduates should network? Primarily the networking at this stage of the game for a student will be completed via social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, PR Open Mic and Facebook but networking can also be done while at work placements and through various CIPR events where students are allowed to attend. At first I didn't think I classed as a social networker but the more I thought about the article more I began to realise that a lot of my contacts have been made or at least maintained via social media sites. Is the networking helping to enhance my career path? Will it make any possible opportunities greater? Will I be offered more opportunities because of it? Only time will tell for me but in the mean time I would be interested to hear your views whether from a student who is for or against networking before graduation or from potential employers themselves.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

You Can Now Follow me on Twitter

I have added a new feature to my blog which allows you to follow me on twitter and see my latest updates!

The wonders of modern technology!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Social Media Expert?

I conducted the third 'Social Media' session to my internal team last week mainly focusing on the benefits and power of twitter along with recommendations of how we as a communications department can use the tool. In the afternoon I held a catch up session with my Director of Communications to get him up to speed on how we are currently using it, my research and my recommendations for the future - this generated some positive feedback which I am still contemplating. As I am a placement student I will be leaving the company before September sometime and due to the economic climate they will not be replacing my position. My Director has asked before I leave if I can pass on 'my knowledge and wisdom' to the rest of the marketing and corporate communications associates to ensure that the department continues to move with the times. He expressed that having youth on my side helps with my eagerness to learn and understand social media. As mentioned before his comments got me thinking. All though I am very appreciative of the compliment what qualifies anybody to be a social media 'guru' or 'expert' ? There are no set qualifications to pass nor are there any particular guidelines to follow. An article on ft.com explains how in the current financial climate many organisations and agencies are utilising the use and cost effectiveness of social media tools but "A recent poll of members of the US-based Chief Marketing Officer Council found that a third did not have the internal talent within their marketing departments to engage in new media programmes." What do you determin at internal talent? Someone who can set up a twitter account or someone who uses it effectively? I am sure this is a discussing topic I will have to continue to explore but if anyone can please enlighten me as to how you graduate from the knowledge of social media then please do get in touch. In the mean time I'm off to pack my bags for social media freshers week!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Local Newspapers on the Way Out?

Interestingly enough, last year while at university I enjoyed a talk by the ex-business editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post. He was explaining in depth how the traditional print newspapers may soon be on the way out. At first I was outraged – why would we never want to pay an interest in the news but the more he explained the more it made sense. While sitting at our desks – if we are seen to have an open paper in front of us we are deemed to be wasting time where as if we are looking at our computer screens, searching through Facebook for all our employers know, we are seen to be working. Now, more and more people are receiving their news from the internet – google homepage, the newspapers own websites with far more interactive material. That was a year a go.
Now, I am the first to admit that I gain most of my newsworthy knowledge not only from newspapers own websites but from sources such as twitter and RSS feeds too. I very rarely buy a paper copy of the paper in the week any more simply collecting news items throughout the day electronically.
I was shocked and saddened by the recent announcements of redundancies at Archant’s offices in Norfolk who publish the Eastern Daily Press(EDP) and the Evening News not just because of the obvious negative impact on the people involved but because this is my local paper. Was the editor mentioned previously above right? Is print fading away and fast?
A group was set up on Facebook by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) regarding the amount of redundancies originally announced. On the 16th March Archant retracted their statement and reduced the redundancies by 20 people all due to the support raised from the group. The power of the latest media trend really does fill me with hope. Not only has it got so much power behind it but it was used to support an industry supposedly it is replacing which brings me on to my final point? Is there not enough room for both mediums?
I joke with my mum how the major headline on the local paper never reflects what is happening in the outside world, in the BBC News it will be ‘Interest rates drop to 1.5%’ where as the local paper will lead with ‘Dolly the sheep found live and well’ but all joking aside does it need to? it does fulfil a purpose, It delivers local news to local people. I am the first to believe that this recession will end businesses which should probably end anyway (I am awaiting a barrage of abuse as I write) allowing other businesses to get stronger -a business law of nature if you will but in this case I have to say...Long live the local paper!
Media Guardian has published an interesting podcast involving discussion around the death of local media., to listen to it please click here

Friday, 13 March 2009

To twitter or not to twitter that is the question...

Recently I have been trying to get to grips with the latest social media trend – twitter. Twitter is a status update social media tool allowing you to discuss/announce your latest feed using only 140 characters or less. With a rise in citizen journalism this will be the perfect tool for people to get an idea of an event as it happens from the people closest too it – allowing a range of angles to be covered from the corporate level right down to the innocent bystander.
I am still getting to grips with the modern technology myself but some people have taken it a step further. Drew Benvie, board director at Hotwire PR based in London one of the most active pr agencies on twitter according to PRWeek in February, has started a social media experiment this week by searching on twitter instead of Google for answers. Drew explains that his experiment started when he was looking for a place to eat Sunday lunch near to his home – Google provided too many results where as twitter was more refined and the responses were more personal.
Stephen Waddington, Managing Director of Rainerpr is also interested in the progress of this research and been blogging about his progress.
The experiment mentioned above though is one of many uses twitter claims to have. A friend of mine was able to obtain a BBC interview with a client via twitter after seeing what the journalist was writing about from his status update.
Although I am still learning about the values and technicalities of twitter I am open to the value it may bring to the media industry but what about the mere mortals of the world – will it bring value to their lives also?
For more information on the benefits of twitter Drew has a good ten step guide.
If anyone has any tips for twitter or simply a dummies guide please send it along – I am due to host another social media session for my colleagues in the next couple of weeks so any other aspects regarding twitter you feel I need to cover then please do let me know!

Monday, 9 March 2009

PR More Powerful than advertising

A recent study has announced results that PR is more powerful and financially rewarding than advertising.
The article published in PRWeek announced that 'The Media Prominence Study, conducted by Text 100 research arm Context Analytics, found that in industries that involve more research before purchases are made, such as computing, PR can account for nearly half of brand value.'
This is a statement that I have argued against my peers (admittedly alot of them advertising and marketing based) but would the results have more clout if the study wasn't conducted by a PR agency in the first place.
'Our findings reinforce that PR and communications are important and cost-effective tools that deliver real business value - often at fractions of the cost of advertising,' said Text 100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes.
I can't help but think this wasn't a wise move considering PR is all about presenting an honest and un-biased image.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Max Clifford - PR Guru or spin doctor?

I was reading an artcle at the weekend in the media guardian regarding Max Clifford.
When I was young(er) and considering a career in Public Relations I looked up to Max Clifford often amazed at the power he seemed to have over journalists. My interest in PR moved from my desire to be a journalist so perhaps this is why I seemed to have more interest in his activities but the more I study and the more I work and delve deeper into the world of PR I move increasingly to dislike Clifford's method of PR and question whether it is true 'PR'.
Whether I work within an agency or in-house as part of my role I strive to gain good coverage within print and online media but I don't see this as the only part of my role. I aim to publicise the brand, key messages and build relationships with key stake holders. In the interview it mentions that " Clifford once likened what he did to "playing 15 games of chess a day", and here he has a sticky position from which to try to extricate himself." Is what Clifford practises more likened to issues and crisis management rather than everyday PR? rectyfing or simple managing a situation from escalating further or even at all?
"The good thing about being in my position is that you know so many things. Sometimes a story that was so important for you to stop five years ago isn't now. It's changed. You can suddenly reveal that happened, so you, the journalist, have got a much bigger story." He even implies that occasionally the manipulation comes close to bribery. "Most journalists would sell their own mothers for a great story, but sometimes you're able to make them an offer that they think they shouldn't refuse." A leg up the career ladder, a word in the ear of a friendly editor. "I'll find them a job or I'll come up with something that means they won't lose their job." (Media Guardian 2009)
Although there have been many a time when I have been proved wrong I like to think the world of a journalist isn't so fickle. There have been discussions as to whether the CIPR should introduce codes of conduct and practise to regulate the 'goings on' in the PR world. If the above statement from Clifford is true it may not be a bad idea - allowing real media stories through rather than simply celeb spin to sell the papers.
As an individual I have nothing against Max Clifford and have a level of respect for the amount of coverage he is able to gain - it must take a certain level of expertise to ensure he is as successful as he is today but I am still loathed to call it 'PR' in my eyes it is simply the practise of a spin doctor.
I am open to discussion and debate on the topic...
To read the full article in the Media Guardia please click here.
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