All 15 entries tagged PR And Comms

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January 22, 2007

A good look at the future of journalism

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Interesting set of papers from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard looking at the changing nature of journalism in the digital age.

There is an awful lot to digest here, but some provocative thoughts to consider.

The pace of change is frightening – keep your eyes on the edges!

July 13, 2006

Enough with the lights

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A very nice call to PR departments from Derek Lowe at Corante to stop photographing science subjects with eerie lights:

This is addressed to all professional photographers: please, no more colored spotlights. I know that you see this as a deficiency, but scientists do not work with purple radiance coming from the walls behind them. Not if we can help it, we don't, and if we notice that sort of thing going on, we head for the exits. In the same manner, our instruments do not, regrettably, emit orange glows that light our faces up from beneath, not for the most part, and if they start doing that we generally don't bend closer so as to emphasize the thoughtful contours of our faces. When we hold up Erlenmeyer flasks to eye level to see the future of research in them, which we try not to do too often because we usually don't want to know, rarely is this accompanied by an eerie red light coming from the general direction of our pockets. It's a bad sign when that happens, actually.

I guess the problem is that I bet more school kids would get into science if labs were filled with spooky purple lights, smoking test tubes and weird bangs. Don't we need labs that resemble Kenneth Williams' lair in Carry On Screaming – smoke, lights, a foxy assistant and a monster to do your bidding. Now that's scientastic!

June 26, 2006

A 'paradigm–change' in lazy PR

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Uggh – I didn't know people still used phrases like

"even more excited by their next paradigm-changing solution for retailers"

Sounds like the worst sort of BS generated renta–quote.

Also in the same release:

"available exclusively from the media geniuses at Izly Ltd,"

What self–referential guff.

Horrid horrid horrid

April 05, 2006

Should we redefine the BBC?

The question asks about the BBC but raises questions about other media channels.

Historically the power of media channels has been in managing not just the content but also the distirbution channel. Access to the bandwidth on your telly, the cinema network or the newspaper stand, gave you a lot of power and authority.

In the last few years this power has been eroded by digital distribution channels and our traditional channels are looking at how they can repsond.

The BBC has been criticised for investing so heavily in digital channels and online distribution – using public funding to gain a competative advantage. Not so, according to the DG Mark Thompson. The BBC is simply finding new channels to distribute existing content.

What I find interesting here is the way we still seem to rigidly associate content with distribution. There are many cases of content producers fighting to remove content from youtube or google video and the industry's battle with Bittorrent is well documented. John Dale has written much on th subject of file sharing.

In an age of RSS, Podcasts and Vodcasts, should we be taking a revolutionary approach to distribution? Instead of locking content into specific channels, should we democratise access, should companies get over the loss of distribution control and instead concentrate on promotion and content creation.

Here's an interesting thought. Nike own the brand. They outsource production and outsource distribution. What Nike does is marketing.

Does the same model work for broadcasters. The BBC (or another company) creates concepts and manages the brand, outsources production (which is how it operates anyway), and doesn't get too upset about who distributes it. The BBC (or other) become predominantly brand managers.

I pull my media content from a number of sources – the Guardian, the BBC, Channel 4, Radio 1 through 5, the cinema, Amazon DVD rental and so on. Does it actually matter that I have to go to a BBC site to get BBC content? My RSS reader already pulls together a range of information sources outside of their normal distribution content. Why shouldn't I get all my media this way.

Perhaps the BBCs detractors should quit complaining about the Beeb producing a media player and instead concentrate on lobbying for access to that player to be opened up so the usert can get a broad range of content. And while they're at it, they should be posting content to youtube, google video and other sources.

This raises a lot of questions about business models, but that's for all those MBA students to figure out.

February 28, 2006

Annoying conference marketing – Haynet

I am getting a bit sick with the organisers of the 2006 PR Week Corporate Comms conference.

I registered for the relevant day a few weeks ago and have since received about 3 emails still trying to get me to sign up for a conference I have already registered for.

I have also now just received an email asking whether I would like to register for the 2nd day (which is not relevant to me)

Haynet – please back off. You have my business (for now).

I would add this to the list of "bad marketing efforts". It certainly undermines the idea that the conference is about effective communications – the effort seems pretty bloody poor at the moment.

Contrast with the Changing Media Summit – they acknowledge the registration, send me an info pack and guide for the day – and that's it. Perfect.

February 24, 2006

University podcasts – thoughts so far

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I thought I'd note a few thoughts that have been sloshing around regarding the WarwickPodcasts thing.

I've recently been contacted by a few UK Universities asking about how we do them. Interestingly the questions have largely been about technical issues rather than why we do it.

So far they've certainly been fun to do and easy enough to release. I am sure they have not added any significant problems to Chris M and his team of highly trrained people. At least not that he's told me about anyway.

What's interesting is that most of the attention elsewhere seems to be towards two activities – eLearning and capturing keynote events. A quick scan of insitutional activity in this area comes up with a lot of lectures, seminars, round tables and learning materials.

I am not sure about the value in publishing this stuff willy nilly. We have taken a different approach and released specific interviews and discussions specially recorded for the channel rather than just recording public events (though I see no reason not to do this as well). John Dale has pointed out a number of US insitutions that are doing a lot of publishing of audio and video, but mostly it seems to be point, record and publish stuff rather than more creative content.

Is this an issue? I am not sure yet. I question whether 40 1hr30min lectures is something people are going to want to look at much. We learnt with the first podcast that an hour is a big ask for most people and have since kept things to around 20mins which seems a much better length.

A few stats for those who care about these things:

Since November we've had nearly 10,000 visits to the main podcast page and nearly 50,000 page visits to that plus the xml feed – I like to think that's a significant good thing :-)

The ID debate between Steve Fuller and Jack Cohen has been the most linked to piece (unsurprising perhaps).

Releasing items in the morning seems to generate more response from Warwick people than releasing them in the afternoon.

We have 3 Yahoo podcast subscribers (this made my day yesteday!)

We were the first UK University to be listed in iTunes (to my anecdotal knowledge – please refute this if you know otherwise)

Any comments/ideas/feedback would be helpful btw. This is still a project in its early stages so all input is greatfully recieved.

August 31, 2005

Interesting observation on terminology used in media releases

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Boing Boing carry an interesting post on an observation about the terminology used to describe people in the aftermath of Katrina – black looters, white finders.

To be taken with the usual internet pinch of salt I guess, but would I find this surprising? Not really.

August 08, 2005

Blogs and citizen journalism

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Following the events of the last few months there has been a lot of media coverage following the development of what some are calling Citizen Journalism – you may have seen the requests on the BBC and other websites asking for pictures, experiences and other information.

Much of the debate around this topic over the last 6 months has been about blogs vs Mainstream media and the end of traditional journalism. Hugh Hewitt's book Blog presents the bloggers case in this battle with rabid enthusiasm.

Vincent Maher, a South African academic, has posted an interesting riposte to those who argue that citizen journalists are inherently superior to the old school paid up members of the print and broadcast professions.

The comments pick up on a few areas of debate. In particular the question of ethics is one that is interesting to explore in terms of the responsibilities of both parties to ensure accuracy. The question of who do you trust to tell the truth is an interesting one. From a Warwick perspective it would be interesting to know what sources people trust most – WarwickBlogs, insite, The Boar.

July 28, 2005

Kryptonite locks – a year on

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Anybody following the debate about PR and the blogosphere can't help but have noticed the case of the Kryptonote bike locks. The company became the centre of a blog swarm after a video was posted to the web showing how to open one of their more expensive locks with a bic pen.

A lot of blog posts have been made about the issue with much written about the companies failure to engage with the blogging community and thus perpetuating the crisis.

Naked Conversations is carrying a very interesting post and comments thread about the kryptonite case study including an interview with the company's head of PR, Donna M. Tocci. The discussion in the comments raises some interesting debates:

1. The role and status of PR as a profession and the need for transparency in the execution of its activities
2. The approach companies need to take when speaking to a) It's customers, b) the blogosphere, c) traditional media
3. Balancing the management of a crisis and developing effective repsonses and how much of that you communicate and when
4. The potential of the blogosphere to perpetuate misunderstanding and rumour

I think what is interesting about the interview is the tension the company faced between communicating to paying customers and communicating to bloggers – who are not necessarily one and the same thing. There is also a tension between the demand for information from the blogosphere and the company's ability to actually provide an answer that was achievable or manageable. Issues management theory suggests that the best approach is to keep communicating, so perhaps the say nothing until we are ready approach was misguided.

July 21, 2005

Why should PR be nervous?

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An interesting example unfolding at the moment is the case of Adrian Melrose and his problems with Land Rover – an interesting case study in using a blog to try and force a solution to a particular issue – hasn't got there yet, but watching Land Rover's responses is fascinating.

Just goes to show how blogs are changing the way PR works.

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