This weekend, both the New York Times Magazine and the Boston Globe Magazine offer glimpses into the way new and old media continue a symbiotic, if sometimes contentious, relationship. They are also prime examples of why a solid public relations program must balance both sides.
Over at the Times, blogger Emily Gould writes a long and very personal cover story outlining her trials and tribulations in the public spotlight, thanks in large part to her personal and outspoken blog posts on Gawker.com. This piece is the definition of irony, offering up mea culpa after mea culpa and self-defining as an “over sharer” even as she over shares some more.
But the irony goes beyond the text itself into the subtext. Take, for example, the fact that it is written for the New York Times Magazine, an old-school publication to the Nth degree. Then there is her simple one-line bio at the end that states flatly “Emily Gould is a writer in Brooklyn. This is her first article for the magazine.”
Oh, right, she’s just another writer with no real following.
Gould didn’t take her own growing celebrity seriously until a disastrous appearance on another old-media stalwart: Larry King Live, which on that day was guest-hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The clip gained even more prominence when it was distributed on the new-media powerhouse YouTube.
To convince her therapist that she was, in fact, a celebrity, Gould brought in a New York magazine article on Gawker and read allowed from it. Even a breakup happened on old media, with her boyfriend writing a long article for the New York Post Sunday Magazine, the nation’s 13th oldest newspaper and one founded by Alexander Hamilton.
Also telling is the comment from Magazine Editor Gerry Marzorati, who told Media Bistro that in the first six hours on the Web (where the story was published before being seen in the printed magazine) the article nabbed more than 600 comments. The fact that this is a cited as a sign of success points out that things they are a-changin’ at the venerable publication. I still wonder how many of the Times' readers will sift through all the Web reaction and how it will get filtered back into the main discussion.
Still, the back-and-forth nature of the discussion shows how stories that develop online move into the mainstream media, and those stories in the mainstream media blend back into the online world. To do PR properly you must be firmly planted in both of those worlds.
Then there is Seth Mnookin, who wrote a cover story for the Boston Globe Magazine that attempts to dissect the seemingly-exorbitant $200 million Newton North High School. As this is my home town and I blog on the issues regularly, this is very close to my heart. I’ve written my thoughts on the subject, but more importantly are those of the rest of the residents, including some of the people interviewed for the piece.
If you look over on the Newton TAB blog, you can see people taking shots at Mnookin. It gives a much clearer view of the piece, or at least adds facts that allow the reader to have a better understanding of the debate that exists within the city.
But, my guess is that few readers will ever see those comments. Sure, they’re there as additional facts for someone doing research on the subject, but as far as the winning the hearts and minds of the broader populous, those comments aren’t going to help.
This is the fundamental flaw with the “self correcting” theory of Web 2.0. The idea is that the crowds will correct inaccurate presentations of "the facts," which is oftentimes true. The problem is that most of those corrections happen in forums that are frequented only by the most ardent. So unless the Globe goes back and writes another cover story, the battle is already lost. The issue is not correcting the stories for everyone, but correcting it for the right audience.
So the question is, which audience is more important? If the goal is to win the hearts and minds of the whole of Massachusetts, then Newton will have to influence the coverage in the mainstream media, something it's already doing by having an active forum. If the goal is to influence the local audience, then the forum is the perfect place because it speaks directly to that audience.
As Brian Solis noted in his much discussed entry on TechCrunch, a key "secret" is to identify the key audience, only then can you actually speak with that audience. So while these two examples are great macro discussions, the question for both Emily and for the City of Newton is: what audience really matters?
Tags: boston globe
, new media
, new york times
, old media
Posted by Chuck Tanowitz on May 28, 2008 at 5:40 AM
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On Tuesday night I attended a wonderfully informative PRSA Boston / Social Media Club event on the future on journalism in a social media world.
I'd gladly have sat for an hour to hear any one of the panelists (listed here) speak about his own thoughts and experiences. Moderator Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers and upcoming Secrets of Social Media Marketing, brought the big questions and kept the discussion moving right along.
Too much great, usable information to summarize, but one thing I took out of it is the need to help reporters make their stories more visual.
[I should note that my clients are technical--biotech, nanotech and business-to-business computer technology. There's no obvious visual element to most of these stories beyond the obligatory headshot of the company spokesperson (suit or golf shirt?). Sometimes we mix it up with a network diagram or image of a 96-well plate. Our teams that represent consumer technology and medical companies have long understood the need for beautifully conceived and produced visuals.]
Tech journalists who used to just write are now carrying around cameras and other equipment in order to capture more elements of the story at hand or to be able to present it to a wider audience. It's increasingly common that reporters will talk with a client and then videotape an interview or record a podcast. (Some examples are here, here, here and here. Disclaimer: they're Schwartz clients SpikeSource, Appcelerator, Sentrigo and SugarCRM.)
Nice for a start. The next step is to contribute more to the slide shows that media are starting to rely on because each slide requires a click--advertiser heaven.
Our job has always been to make technical stories accessible. Now, as the media looks to layer a multimedia dimension onto reporting, look for entrepreneurial tech companies to differentiate themselves to reporters by providing new types of ideas and content. Most aren't doing it today--clearly an opportunity for those willing to try something new.
Posted by Laura Kempke on May 22, 2008 at 9:35 AM
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Here at Crossroads we talk about the intersection of traditional and new media. However, this conversation is taking place at all levels in the marketing world, not just in public relations.
Let's add another intersection to the discussion--public relations and search marketing.
Search marketing is changing marketing. Google prints money from their search advertising business. It's inexpensive, effective and very measurable. And, as this New York Times article discusses, recession proof.
However, many companies treat search marketing as a stand-alone initiative. Figure out some keywords, search engine optimize (SEO) the site, maybe run some pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to generate leads. Inevitably, without any strategic context, the initiative putters out.
There's another, smaller group of companies that are navigating this roadblock by tightly integrating their search marketing programs with public relations. They tap the PR team to develop messages, turn those messages into keywords, use articles and other PR content to optimize the site and blast out strategic PPC campaigns coordinated with media campaigns.
This "surround-sound" approach hits key audiences with the same messages from two of the most influential sources out there--media (both traditional and social) and Google search.
Schwartz is sitting at the crossroads of PR and search marketing. For quite a while we've been optimizing releases, providing keyword advice and even figuring out compelling offers that will convert into qualified leads.
Today, we're diving in with a full-fledged search marketing offering. We believe PR and search marketing services fit naturally together. Clients come to Schwartz for results, and one of the great things about search marketing is it's results-focus and measurability.
Learn more in our upcoming webinar.
, public relations
, search marketing
Posted by Mike Farber on May 20, 2008 at 12:30 PM
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The rapid evolution of tech journalism as it's impacted by social media, among other factors, is affecting every company in the tech industry. Media relations isn't what it was last year, and it's monumentally different than it was 10 years ago.
Anyone who works with the media or who relies on it to help reach customers, partners or employees has to understand the pressure journalism is under and the resulting changes it's undergoing. It's that basic!
To that end, you're invited to learn more about "The Future of Journalism in a Social Media World" at next Tuesday's event sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America's Boston Chapter and the Social Media Club. (Registration is available through the PRSA Boston website. The event will be held in Weston at the American Cancer Society's offices.)
Veteran journalist Paul Gillin, author of "The New Influencers" and the upcoming book "Secrets of Social Media Marketing," will lead the discussion. Questions he'll ask include:
- How are blogs, podcasts and online video impacting both the business and the reporting of news?
- Will journalists need to master video, audio and photography in order to practice their craft in the future?
- How has journalism been impacted by the success of bloggers moving into the reporting business?
- What does the future have in store for mainstream media? How can those media stay relevant?
- Ted McEnroe, director of digital media, New England Cable News
- Robin Lubbock, director of new media, WBUR
- Howard Sholkin, director of communications and marketing programs, IDG
- David Wallace, consultant, adjunct journalism professor at Emerson College and former writer for The New York Times, Reuters and numerous websites
Promises to be an informative evening!
Posted by Laura Kempke on May 15, 2008 at 10:30 AM
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One of Schwartz's core competencies is helping entrepreneurial companies use public relations to take on larger competitors and win. Earlier this week, at the Sabre Awards in New York City, the Holmes Report recognized Schwartz for not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.
There is no way to write this without coming across as bragging, but in reality I want to call out the great work of my team and our client.
The Sabre Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in public relations. Winners are selected based their strategic approach to public relations campaigns and measureable results.
This week, Schwartz received a Gold Sabre Award for its work on behalf of Digication, an eight-person technology company that set out to change the way teachers teach and students learn and showcase their portfolios. Using a combination of trade media relations and social media campaigns, in less than a year, Schwartz helped Digication grow from a base of about 10 schools to more than 1,000 schools nationwide.
Digication has a great product and visionary founders (both of which help quite a bit), but it faced a challenge many start-up companies face - it had to take on entrenched competition and win. Working together, Schwartz and Digication did just that.
The same held true at the Sabres. Digication and Schwartz were in a category with Hitachi, Rubbermaid and New York Life -- all much larger companies and well-known brands. Yet in the end, Digication triumphed.
Congratulations to a great company -- Digication -- and a great team for showing that with aggressiveness, focus and a commitment to excellence, public relations can have a quantifiable business impact -- and proving once again the revolutionary power of entrepreneurial companies no matter their size.
Posted by Mark McClennan on at 9:40 AM
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