Killing Sound Bite Reporting

12 10 2008

Oh to be released from sound bite reporting and have the opportunity to have communicaiton that actually means something. Imagine all the wonderful ideas that don’t ever see the light of day because they take more than 30 seconds to explain.

With elections happening in both Canada and the US this fall, my evening news has turned into nothing more than 3 to 10 second clips of the people who are vying to lead one of these countries. If it can’t be said in such a short lapse, we don’t get to hear it. This just frustrated me. Is this why I’ve lost interest? I know that I can’t listen to everything that each has to say on the hot topics. It would be a lot easier if they just left all the negative stuff to the side, maybe we’d have time for a real conversation.

And it’s not just the PR handlers who are responsbile for the repetitive nonsense that’s spewed. The national news casts are competing in a media saturated world. They have to try to catch our attention in the midst of all the other things we’ve got going on in our lives. So they go for the hit that can be played over and over … even by the other networks. Ugh.

It seems like we should be getting better value on the web, on sites where the candidates have the opportunity to offer us something more substantial. But no, the various Facebook et. al pages don’t really want us to learn or communicate on much other than those 20 second clips.

Well for contests that are all about numbers, the news networks and candidates seem to want us to pay attention and for US to give THEM the numbers – but they can hardly give us the time of day… okay, that they can do, it only takes a few seconds.





Is your PR firm lazy?

31 10 2007

PR is not the biggest part of my business but I certainly have had occasion to pitch for my clients. I believe in PR and developing contacts with media and getting the message out there. It’s actually fun to make a connection with someone who is honestly interested in a product or service that you’re pitching. I’ve enjoyed some inspiring conversations. Yesterday, in a post on his blog, Chris Anderson – Wired Editor-in-chief and author of The Long Tail – published a list of emails collected from his INBOX from people he says were basically spaming him with lazy PR work.

“Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching.”

I see a couple of names in there that will not be very happy to find they’ve been bumped out as spam. But really, if the PR firm doesn’t have enough fire to get the message out to the right journalists… via a creative and well-designed presentation, is there any real hope of the message getting to the end-user in a manner to inspire them?

A good PR firm or communications department should know who is following a given sector and have a list of journalists and trend-setters to contact. If this sort of list doesn’t exist, it really isn’t that difficult to build one. This shows how lazy automated systems make us and how doing the same thing day-in-day-out can breed contempt for our work.

Part of my professional background being in journalism, I have a healthy respect for the work journalists do but I also know that the more of their work that I do for them, the more likely they are to run with my story. I’m just about to start on a project – a CD-ROM for journalists covering the jewelery fashion industry. Each year our focus is on providing a tool that makes the journalist’s job easier. I guess it’s working. It’s the fifth year for this project.

“I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.”Whoopi Goldberg