Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category
In between reporting on Edward Snowden, the crash of Asiana flight 214, and the Boston Marathon Bombing suspect’s appearance in court, Anthony De Rosa, the relatively new editor-in-chief for Circa, graciously answered a few questions for me about this innovative news platform he is presiding over and the future of journalism.
Circa is the mobile news app that breaks stories down to their core facts to make them easier to read and share. For more on how it works, read, “The Message and the Medium: Mobile News, Circa and Anthony De Rosa.” I wanted to find out more about how De Rosa and his team source news stories (Circa’s stories are written by aggregating credible sources into unique articles), and how he views the evolution of investigative journalism. Here’s our conversation:
The 24-hour news cycle has given us many gifts (some good, some… less so), but one that is extremely useful to the PR world is a continued need for experts or interesting points of view when a major story breaks. Becoming involved in a breaking news story can be an excellent opportunity to gather wide exposure for your organization and reinforce to the public what it is that you do best. Consider this: every time a reporter calls you an expert, he’ll have to explain why. If the reason is rooted in your work, the resulting publicity can have far-reaching rewards.
But there are always pros and cons. Before delving into the fray, you need to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Here are four questions to ask yourself.
Two months ago, my career did a 180-degree turn.
I left my job as a business reporter and joined a PR firm. While I was excited by the opportunity of digging into a new profession and all the challenges that come with it, I dreaded the inevitable jabs about going to the other side of the broadsheet.
Before I started, I had a feeling that one of the toughest parts of my job transition would be pitching my former friends and colleagues. I was right. Initially, pitching reporters has been a bit surreal. Suddenly, my new reality is that rather than screening dozens of pitches a day for the occasional newsworthy gem, I’m on the other side, trying to catch the attention of reporters, hoping that they’ll bite on one of my ideas.
At the White House correspondents’ dinner, President Obama said, “I remember when BuzzFeed was just something I did in college after 2 a.m.”
Indeed, while the website founded by MIT grad and Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti is 7-years old, until recent months, BuzzFeed might have been something only college students were reading at 2 a.m., searching for LOL cats and photo bombs that they could share on Facebook.
But all that is changing and it feels as if suddenly, BuzzFeed has all the media buzz.
- Propelled by high-profile news events such as the Newtown shooting and Boston Marathon bombings, the site seemed to intuit exactly what readers wanted during and after the crisis and its content was even more viral than usual. In January, the site had about 30 million unique visitors. In April, that number had spiked to 65 million uniques. The New York Times’ website has nearly 29 million monthly uniques.
In the horrifying moments after the Boston Marathon bombings, after ensuring that everyone we knew was safe, we told all clients who might have scheduled tweets to shut them off. Some of them already had and some were shocked that it took almost 20 minutes to finally stop the process.
Thankfully, having a business Twitter blackout has become standard procedure during any crisis because a brand’s social chatter – even if it’s not self-promotional – seems wrong when people are trawling for vital information about breaking news. Going silent is the digital equivalent of giving a fire truck the necessary 500-foot perimeter to do its job. Get out of the way of the #disaster hashtag.
I’ve been working in PR for over two decades and, even to this day, nothing makes me happier than when I land a great piece of media coverage for a client. To me, this joyful moment happens when three elements come together in unison: a great pitch, a solid relationship with a reporter, and the right timing.
Once upon a time, great media relationships were built over lunches, press conferences, phone calls and in-person media tours. But times have changed and so has PR. Today, while phone calls still matter a great deal, in-person meetings are rare. The good news is that we now have Twitter and it’s a huge and, I think, untapped, asset for building relationships with reporters.
In a random act of Googling last night, I was searching on PR firms and I stumbled on a bunch of Quora and Google+ discussions where entrepreneurs were asking a simple question: how do I choose a PR firm? The answers to these questions were many, all with the same common theme largely from journalists — you can do PR yourself. Forget the agency. Just get to know the press you need and reach out yourself. This argument is not new to me or to the PR community. But we often just sit back and let journalists air their grievances with PR firms — after all, journalists are our clients too. It will come as no surprise that I am on the other side of this argument in most cases (although not always). But for good reasons.