A Discussion Regarding the Public Relations Profession and Media Industry
By Devon Grosso
I recently attended and reflected upon a virtual discussion presented by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA). The PPRA is a leading organization for communications professionals in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The speakers included:
- Jim Walsh, Staff Writer for the Courier-Post
- Len Lear, Features Editor for Chestnut Hill Local
- Tom Waring, Editor of the Northeast Times
- Marion Callahan, Multimedia Reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer
The conversation was moderated by Deirdre Hopkins, Director of Communications at The Hope Center for College, Community & Justice at Temple University and PPRA Past President. To learn more about Deirdre Hopkins, listen to Furia Rubel Communications, Inc., podcast entitled On Record PR: How The #RealCollege Movement and Philadelphia Institutions Communicate During COVID-19 and In 2021 With Deirdre Childress Hopkins.
The PPRA program offered insight and knowledge regarding social media, how the media industry landscape has shifted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and best practices for public relations professionals.
The Correlation Between News Media and Social Media
Social media has become a premier news outlet, tool, and resource. It is a vessel that businesses, industries, organizations, and individuals utilize daily to obtain and/or convey information. Marion Callahan attested to this stating, “We’re very much involved with social media, not just to get our stories out but for tracking news stories down as well.”
Callahan also addressed news media and social media in a Furia Rubel Communications, Inc., On Record PR podcast episode entitled Reporting The News as a Multimedia Journalist with Marion Callahan.
Additional Social Media Resources:
The Transformation of the Media Industry Due to COVID-19
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has immensely impacted and transformed the media industry landscape. Panelists discussed:
- the significant decrease in newsroom staff sizes,
- the transition to a remote work environment,
- the importance of utilizing alternative and unconventional communication outlets to obtain the information necessary to report valuable and reliable news stories, and
- why local journalism flourished throughout the pandemic.
The program also enlightened audiences on the shift in news coverage because of COVID-19. When COVID-19 emerged, the pandemic and coronavirus-related matters were broadcasted routinely. However, Deirdre Hopkins noted that present-day news coverage is gradually beginning to balance back to normalcy.
Related Media Industry and COVID-19 Content:
Media Pitching for Public Relations Professionals
Throughout the discussion, panelists provided attendees with media pitching strategies, best practices, and methodologies. The conversation noted that receiving a media pitch via email is a preferred method and persistence is key. It also was unanimous that public relations professionals must understand the reporter to which you are distributing information including reviewing previous media coverage, evaluating journalism style, and being cognizant of the niche industry prior to sending content. Having an engaging and intriguing subject line also is important.
Additional Media Relations Resources:
While the public relations profession was the focal point of this program, the discussion provided information that is applicable to a multitude of industries, organizations, and professions.