Melbourne’s First PR/Comms/Media networking night – 30 Sept #prjournolove

Last year in July 2009 when I was still relatively new to Twitter and well into the media relations space the lovely Jen Bishop at Dynamic Business Magazine and I were musing about the myth of ‘PR people versus Journalists’ and why this was so. Lamenting about the negativity of this industry rift and how much love there actually is, and can be, between media and PR people we came up with a Twitter hashtag #prjournolove.

Since that fateful day we’ve seen the tag spreading the love far and wide and the wonderful Jen started a Sydney #prjournolove event, giving media and PR people the chance to meet and mingle and strengthen the bond between the two professions.

There should not be such a ‘us versus them’ mentality because in reality we need each other. When PR and media work best is when they work best together because ultimately we’re working towards getting stories and information out there.

So, together with a group of lovely friends and colleagues in the PR and media industry whom I’ve met here in Melbourne, we’re bringing the very first Melbourne #prjournolove event to town.

Next Thursday 30 September at 24 Moons in ACDC Lane in the city from 6.30pm. #prjournolove

RSVP at the Facebook event:

See you there!


The Perfect Pitch for some #prjournolove

As an active member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) I have a fondness for the organisation that has attempted to regulate the industry and which has keenly provided public relations practitioners with an overarching body of support. Although I do feel there is still much potential for the PRIA to function as a widely acknowledged authority, they have certainly given members and guests a great number of events for professional development and networking. The Perfect Pitch, hosted by the New Practitioners Committee last Thursday 16 July, is one such function that was a great success and an exquisite example of #prjournolove.

Inviting journalists to speak to a room full of PR practitioners about what constitutes a perfect pitch can only lead to a greater understanding between the two professions, bridging the gap of ‘us and them’. I know I have blogged about this topic before but my determination to see the PR versus Journalism ‘issue’ dissolve is strong. The journalists who generously gave their time to speak with the so called other side were: Erin Kisby (Health and Lifestyle Editor at New Idea), Ben Ulm (EP at Nine), Hannah Rand (Senior Editor at Sunday Magazine) and Peter Blasina otherwise known as the Gadget Guy (tech expert for Seven and a hots of other media outlets including his own publications).

The general consensus from the speakers came down to three main points:

  • know the media publication you are pitching to and target the appropriate section and journalist
  • timing is everything – know the lead times and when media deadlines are and don’t contact them at these times
  • pitch succinctly and factually; get straight to the point in email and/or phone pitching

I was relieved to know that I already practice these pitching gospels but it was the face to face contact with each of these journalists that I believe holds the key for successful relationship building. Making to effort to get to know a journalist, their role and their media outlet shows respect and understanding for their side of the story. This, in turn, will assist a PR in pitching the most effective angle and, when a relationship beyond pitching and following up has been established, the pitch will more than likely be considered.

For the better established PR Journalist relationships, an average pitch may be discussed by both parties to develop a stronger angle which is a truly magnificent display of #prjournolove. A brilliant example was given by Peter Blasina about a persistent PR professional who did some extraordinary research to secure Peter’s interest which lead to astounding results for an online golf store. [Here’s your challenge and prompt – for more information about this example, why not use it as a lead in to get to know the Gadget Guy?]

Although it can seem daunting and just a little bit scary to go the extra mile to get to know the media you are pitching to, it is worth it. As PRs, we should already be good at networking and by showing respect and willingness to better understand journalists we can all spread the #prjournolove for those who determine how successful a media relations campaign will be. Try it. You might like it.

Let’s move on from ‘PR vs Journalism’ joust

Having recently come up with the idea for the driven ‘PR and Journalism are different sides of the same coin’ debate and successfully pulled it off, I can now say that I am very over the topic. We (the PRIA New Media Group) created some great conversation between a number of industry professionals with a #priadebate Twitter stream and some great coverage in, B&T magazine and even Social Diary. Other than Professor’s latest research about the topic, which included a history of the joust, the conversation didn’t seem to bring to light too many new insights for me except that I am more than ready to take on the challenge of ‘PR plus Journalism’ stance.

Both professions are very different by job description but very similar in sharing the commonality of being sources of information. At many times, our target markets and audiences are the same and the information we excrete is, at the basest level, the same but packaged up to deliver different versions of the facts. The PR client aims to reach its mass target audience (which may also be a niche group) via the different media which has already accrued this mass to whom relevant information is communicated via online/print/broadcast and everything in between.

It seems to me that a partnership and support network would be the obvious and natural solution for the PR and Journalism industries for communicating the best and highest quality information as possible. A vast amount of the most crucial facts and information is held and managed by PRs and Journalists benefit from having access to this information. And yes, you are right; there may not be a mutual gain from both parties having this information and quite often, publicly revealing said information prompts crisis communications. But this brings me to ponder if there could be milder media crises if there were stronger PR + Journalism relationships.

Professionally speaking, I’m all about the relationships and networks. I don’t believe I am opportunistic in a ruthless and unethical way (yes, some people do think this is a merit!) but in a way where I like to establish and nurture my contacts so that we may have a mutually beneficial partnership. I would like to think that I add value in some way for all my followers/friends/connections/fans/contacts at some point during our time of being connected in the Iggy Pintado sense. I’m all about the connectedness which has prompted my great interest in and passion for online social networks.

Yes I do love web 2.0 but I’m also all about face time which, for me, is one of the most valuable factors to truly cementing a good connection and to which I add value using the tools of web 2.0.

I could go on and on about this topic which would lead me to expanding my passionate ramblings about the value of human contact, the skills required for practicing this human contact which I fear are on the endangered list, and the benefits and disadvantages of online social networking. But these stories are for another post.

Do you think PR and Journalism will mature into a value-add relationship instead of a bitter and outdated ‘thing’?

PRIA debate - PR professionals WITH real live journalist Clint Drieberg (2UE)

PRIA debate - PR professionals WITH real live journalist Clint Drieberg (2UE)

PRIA Debate - New Media Group committee members (L-R) Sue Kirkland-Smith, Katy Dennis, me

PRIA Debate - New Media Group committee members (L-R) Sue Kirkland-Smith, Katy Dennis, me

PRIA Debate not to be missed – PR versus Journalists – what’s not to love?!

As part of the PRIA New Media Group we are faced with hosting networking events. Having been to a few mildly exciting and successful events myself, I came up with the idea of giving people something to talk about; thus, the first PRIA NMG Debate was born!

Make sure you don’t miss the debate ‘That PR and journalism are different sides of the same coin’ happening on Wed 6 May, 6.30pm at The Laugh Garage in Sydney. This networking event is the brainchild of the NMG and promises to be an entertaining, intriguing and no doubt fiery debate with noted speakers on board:

Affirmative = Brian Giesen (Ogilvy PR), Marie Najjar (Public City), Sophia Russell (B&T), Simon Sharwood (journalist, editor, podcaster, speaker)

Negative = Clint Drieberg (2UE), Lukas Picton(Text 100), Pru Quinlan (Einsteinz), Gerard Ryle (SMH News Editor)

Andrew Kirk (Hill & Knowlten) will be moderating the evening and Professor Jim Macnamara will precede the debate with an overview of his recent studies.

Book now so you don’t miss out as seats are limited, tickets include canapes and a drink on arrival. BOOK NOW!