Last week I volunteered to help out with the nation’s biggest sports day down my local rowing club. It was a fantastic day with an impressive turn out of people wanting to try the sport. However, you may ask, what has this got to do with public relations?
The digital revolution has changed the face of public relations and it continues to evolve with new online inventions and trends. The creative industry has seen traditional journalism downscale and roles within newspapers change, diminish and come under enormous pressure.
With The Independents move to digital, others will follow. Could this be the end of newspapers as we know it?
I want to think that it isn’t the end for newspapers. Look at the resurgence in traditional printed books after the wave of e-readers hit the market. The threat was real. Multiple books held in a conveniently compact tablet readily available wherever you go. It makes sense on so many levels.
For a long time it looked like the Kindle had killed off the print press in one swift digital punch.
However, a few years down the line, the market is saturated and there are people like me who still prefer to put the screen down and get involved in a real book. It’s a pleasant feeling to go fully offline and not succumb to the continuous draw of online content. I like books, I like the way they feel, the way they smell and the fact they don’t run out of battery! And, don’t even start me on the damage caused by screens to your eyes. I now wear glasses part-time. Anyway, as always, I digress. Book popularity has started to increase and it looks for now that the book stores have weathered the digital storm.
I hope that newspapers may have this same experience of a resurgence, but I think this may have to be tied in with some kind of content revolution.
Perhaps the best I can hope for is that by only being online the concept of the traditional journalist will endure? Hopefully online newspapers will have the resources to keep more journalists employed and the skills alive.
The cynic in me thinks that newspapers going online only will dilute the news market even further, the few remaining journalists will get lazy and the press release will be used as ‘cover-ready-copy’ without being stat checked or formed in to a real story. This sort of practice can already been seen, so it wouldn’t really be that much of a jump.
Unfortunately I think this is the next big change for newspapers and in a few years the next generation won’t have a clue what a newspaper is. They will laugh that we read things on paper and fetched the news daily from a shop. They will think us ridiculous as all they will know is that news is available at the touch of a button and you need not move a muscle to get it!
What makes me really sad though is the thought that in the future no one will derive joy on a Sunday from settling down with fresh coffee, breakfast and The Sunday Times and taking a long leisurely read of what’s going on in the world. Online reading just isn’t the same. I know all the same information is available online and I’m not against that existing too. But, for now, I’d like to keep things just the same with the option of both print and online.
I really do think that going solely online is the beginning of the end for newspapers. Now that The Independent has set the online precedent the others will follow.
I’d love to know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments section!
I went on a pretty long journey to get where I am today and a key part of that journey was sending myself back to university to do a PR Masters in 2014. I’m hugely passionate about PR and feel that the wonderful education Southampton Solent University gave me was an important contribution in my progression. It’s given me wonderful opportunities and still does.
One of those opportunities happened at the start of February 2016, I was invited to attend the CIPR hosted Meet the Professionals event, to represent my current company Lee Peck Media.
25 media professionals attended to offer help and advice to current students in the creative industries at a speed-networking event. Yes, this is a bit like speed dating, all the professionals stay seated while every 10 minutes the students rotate around the room.
I spoke to lots of students across the evening and even managed to network myself a little.
Lauren Witty, the current Wessex CIPR student representative, did an excellent job at getting a large mix of regional professionals to attend. 25 in total – the best turn out in the events history. It was easily double the size of when I last attended this event in 2014. Congratulations Lauren – your hard work paid off!
Laura Bradley, one of the students who attended, has written a great blog on her site The PR Girl with five key points that she took away from the event. I am always interested to see what people find notable and the advice they gain from these kind of events and whether that information was useful or not. It’s great to see that Laura’s experience was very positive and the key points were useful ones!
Obviously, I am now on the other side, so I thought I’d give you my five key recommendations from the Meet the Professionals event. These were the most popular things that I said in response to students questions that evening:
Be brave – This isn’t easy. It’s daunting out there but be brave, professionals and companies were once where you were. We all start somewhere.
Grow a thick skin – You are going to get some knock-backs, but it’s time to man up and be more elephant! Learn what you can from these experiences, can you get feedback? As soon as you can pick yourself back up, dust yourself down and keep going, your opportunity is out there. No, seriously, put that Ben and Jerry’s down and grab yourself a Kleenex – you can do this!
Never stop learning – Don’t be afraid to enrol yourself on courses, speak to your peers, ask for advice or shadow a colleague. The industry is evolving all the time, but don’t worry there are many ways to keep your skills together including your CIPR membership, you tube, the infinite resource that is Google, online courses, local colleges and universities.
Find a way – If it’s your dream industry or company and you’ve tried and failed to get in through a direct application can you get another job with them and then side step in to what you want? This could be an option. I did, so can you!
Dig the journey – Unless you are the luckiest so and so, and if you are count your blessings, don’t worry if your journey is the path less travelled. Don’t worry if it takes you longer than others to figure out where and what you want to do, you will learn so much that will contribute to your future, more desired, career (and life in general).
Here’s a selection of my tweets from the event:
Thanks to everyone involved – I hope to see you there next year!
Thank god we made it through all that ‘New Year, New Me’ bollocks that was rammed down our throats across January. Sorry, but dry January, along with the temporary wave of new gym goers and people making resolutions that are not kept can do one.
It’s time for a quick January 2016 catch up!
January was so much fun, it has gone by in a flash, probably through the haze of Birthday celebrations. One notable Birthday highlight was a rather decadent and frivolous afternoon tea at The Savoy. This then got extended to gin and tonic’s at the Beaufort Bar in all it’s 1920’s black and gold glamour. We then went around Kings Cross Station to the Alan Rickman tributes that have been left at Platform nine and three quarters. He was one of my favourite actors.
I hope you had a cracking January too, I mean it wasn’t that bad, was it?
It has been a great month apart from a couple of major exceptions, the wonderfully talented icons we have lost.
Bowie. Rickman. Wogan. Cultural icons who will be sorely missed. The world will be a slightly darker place without them all.
I was lucky enough to meet Sir Terry Wogan once (I know what a name drop!) on the strangest college trip ever to the Terry and Gaby Show. He sat down on the step next to me, before he was introduced on stage, and engaged me in a brief chat which ended with him elbowing my arm, throwing me a wink and saying ‘There are worse jobs to have!’. He was warm, engaging and a true professional.
Each in their own way helped to shape modern media, music and film. Influencers in their field.
PR is always talking about influencers. In fact it’s such a hot topic that the CIPR has sent a new magazine out at the end of January to its members called Influence.
The tag line is ‘For switched-on Public Relations Professionals’. It’s a great tag line, if not a little obvious. I mean everyone wants to be considered as ‘switched-on’ in the PR industry?!
Emblazened on the cover is the word ‘LISTEN’ followed by ’19 essentials to engage a message-swamped world’. Why 19?! Odd!
It’s targeting three key issues that are some of the biggest PR insecurities. Being able to influence, to listen and to effectively communicated.
I haven’t read it yet but I can’t wait to settle down with a coffee, welcome in February properly and get my PR geek on! Let’s hope it lives up to the hype!
I think it’s pretty special when a person with such incredible sporting talent can change, advance and improve a sport in multiple ways. He impacted the build of players, the game itself and the communications surrounding rugby. Public relations for rugby changed as communication between stakeholders evolved and improved. The changes to the way rugby organisations and players handled PR, marketing and advertising made the game accessible to a much wider audience. By being more accessible Jonah became an icon and an inspiration to players of all ages.
Jonah’s support of the rugby world didn’t stop despite his health conditions or when he retired from the international rugby circuit. Recently he toured the UK promoting the 2015 World Cup, performing the traditional Haka.
Jonah Lomu, you are going to be missed but forever remembered as one of the greats, perhaps even the greatest. By engaging all your stakeholders you engaged the world through sport and you built a legacy that will last forever.
Grammar is important. But, you already know this. You already know that a grammar mistake can damage a reputation, a book, an advert, a press release and misconstrue meaning and cause all-round mischief if you get it wrong.
The problem is that it is too easy to do especially if you have a long day at work, a deadline or an incomplete knowledge of the rules. I’ve been caught out by every single one of these!
The best piece of advice I could give would be to get a couple of books (for those times the internet fails you!) and take them to wherever your office may be. Google your grammar query but also make sure to double check it with relevant literature to avoid American based spelling and grammar mistakes (Yes, ‘to Google’ is a verb now!).
If you’ve done all of that you could always ask someone to proof read it, preferably someone with excellent grammar. Then there are the times when you just need to put space between you and what you have written. If you have the time, put what you have written away and come back either a few hours or a full day later. It’s funny how giving yourself a bit of space away can allow you to look at something with fresh eyes again.
For those of you writing in a PR agency, somewhere with multiple clients or an organisation, make sure you look at the client’s own particular style or house style.
Communication is dependent on delivery. Grammar and language are entwined. Grammar is essential to convey your message in the way you intend it to prevent it from being misinterpreted at the other end. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, grammar is important in every role you take.
(P.S. I may have got some grammar incorrect in this, no one is perfect! We can only try our best. If you do get grammar wrong, try not to beat yourself up, learn from it and move on.)