Thursday, July 22, 2010

Broadcasting Commission Boss Cites Shortcomings in New Media (JIS article)

Broadcasting Commission Boss Cites Shortcomings in New Media


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green (left) shares a joke with Sunday Gleaner Editor, Lovelette Brooks, during a seminar entitled 'The Role of the Media: Professional Dictates versus Social Responsibilities', on the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) campus in Kingston on Wednesday (July 21).
Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green, has emphasised the important role traditional media plays in the timely dissemination of accurate and credible information, citing shortcomings in the area of 'new media' outlets.

Mr. Green cited traditional media as broadcast media, with the most common being newspapers, radio, and television, while 'new media' or social media include YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and blogging.

He was speaking at a seminar entitled 'The Role of the Media: Professional Dictates versus Social Responsibilities', at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) campus, Kingston, on Wednesday (July 21).

Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green (left) addressing a seminar entitled 'The Role of the Media: Professional Dictates versus Social Responsibilities', at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) in Kingston on Wednesday, July 21. At right is Sunday Gleaner Editor, Lovelette Brooks.

"We know, as a fact, that much of what we get on the internet is opinionated, whether you go to Wikipedia or anybody's blog. We know, as a statement of fact, that those who operate in the sphere of new media, such as bloggers, they don't have the requirements as there are no required standards, such as source verification, balance, objectivity or fair play," he explained.

He is, therefore, urging individuals to be vigilant with the information that is made available to them.

"Only the print media seems to be losing out to social media, and we have to put a question as to whether they are losing out, or they themselves are being transformed. Radio and television remain very strong brands," he said.

"Much of what is on the net is opinionated and not held to traditional standards, so new media is not always credible," he said.

He argued that for journalists to meet their social responsibilities there is a need for freedom of the press. But that, in terms of their professional mandate, as journalists, there is no need for protection other than that they must publish what can be justifiable in a free and democratic society, where protection of sources takes on no greater importance than a man's right to protect his good name.

Mr. Green encouraged media practitioners to develop professional competences, and have the ability to access, understand and create communication in a variety of context. He also noted that information should be provided impartially, with a view of meeting the traditional mandates of media, which is to inform, educate and entertain.

The seminar was organised by the Professional Administrators Inc. (PAI), which is made up of eight secretaries drawn from various Ministries and Departments within the Government of Jamaica.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is it Really RIP For The News Release? - Clea Mayne - UK

Is it really RIP For The Press Release? - Clea Mayne comments from the UK
Here in the UK, I still send out press releases, but many of my press contacts are on my Linkedin so we also swap news that way. Interestingly, I find UK journalists use Linkedin to push out their own news stories even more than PR people use it to circulate press releases. This is all about increasing internet presence for their bylines I expect...
Other PR people I've worked with regularly issue a press release that automatically sends a truncated version on Twitter and other social media. This is particularly so in the consumer sector, travel news --- anything that lends itself to short format announcements. In this area of PR it can also help to use Facebook to reach journalists, especially if you're planning an upcoming event e.g. a conference, a product launch, a concert, launch of a cruise ship. They can go to one place to get all their facts etc, plus receive alerts. 
Since I work in financial services, and much of my work is B2B, my news content is generally subject to strict regulatory compliance. As a result, I still find it safer to use a written press release format and journalists in my sector don't complain. I'd say my releases are shorter than they used to be when I first started in PR. I rarely go over three short paragraphs, and the third paragraph is usually a quote.  
The point of the press release format these days is more about uniformity when posting the release on the company website. The version that goes to the journalists is text in an email. By now, I thought I'd have been issuing press releases as html or as a click through URL but text within an email is still the most popular format.    
Over the past ten years or so, UK business journalists increasingly base more of their content on 'views' rather than news. e.g. "Is this the right time to be investing in gold?" This means many of us in my sector spend far more time issuing commentary than we ever do sending out news releases.  
If I'm issuing (typically investment) commentary, it's a pdf document produced for clients on a weekly or monthly schedule.  Depending on the topic,  I'll either offer it to one journalist exclusively or issue the commentary to a wider list with a bullet point summary written in the email. I spend far more time these days writing three to five email bullet points than I do writing press releases. A journalist can read the bullet points and know in 5 seconds whether they want to click on the attachment or not.
What I expect is different in the UK, is that news rooms depend on PR content even more than they did in the past. We're talking about many, many different media titles just based in London alone. All these news rooms have been downsized many times over, as they compete with the internet. Remaining journalists have to file more stories every day than ever before. One business journalist at Sky News says that her daily routine involves filing her stories for television, plus writing and posting her blog, plus regularing Tweets, plus going into the Sky radio studio to produce daily alerts which go out in syndicated news to all the radio stations that subscribe to Sky for content. 
Likewise, many newspaper and magazine journalists (including the weeklies and monthlies) are filing daily news stories on their websites. These stories go out as alerts (often free) to subscribers. I've had journalists call me up and ask me to get my clients to go online and comment on the journalist's blog so it impresses the editor, and increases the journalist's ranking on the website. 
I imagine this isn't happening in Jamaica because it's expensive to host a website with this much activity --- streaming etc. But the newspaper model here is definitely changing toward being online-focused. There is talk that at least one daily newspaper will go online-only in the near future.
I'm interested to hear about how things go in Jamaica.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quotable PR Quote - Yvonne Grinam Nicholson

Yvonne Grinam Nicholson on Social Media
"Companies should be careful before they jump into the social media sea because just like any wide body of water, you need to know its depths and the sharks that might lurk beneath. Don't jump in a set up a FaceBook page or start Twittering as if your life depended on it before you do your research... The news after you do your research might be hard to take and you might need a good strong drink to make it go down easy and some even stiffer tonic to share it with management. But now is not the time to be a wimp - man up and do the research. Social media is not going to go away - it might never replace the traditional means we use but it can be used to bolster their usefulness."

Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson, (MBA, ABC)
President IABC, Caribbean - Jamaica Chapter
She can be contacted at:
Visit her website at and post your comments.