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February 10, 2015 Transcript of #CommsChat on the value of media relations as a skillset

This week we discussed the pertinence of media relations as a skillset for modern PR professionals. Our guests, Nafisa Nathani and Alex Singleton, argued that media relations remains a valuable skill, but that opinion was not shared by everyone.

Here are some of the highlights:

  •  T1: it’s a declining part, caused by changes in the industry and explosion of other channels
  •  Media relations is also a great grounding that gives skills that help in all forms of stakeholder engagement
  •  T1: I’m an evangelist for media relations Skills it develops – ppl skills, news sense, communication, courage – really matter
  •  T1: Media relations is vital. It’s inextricably linked to direct contact, social, digital & all other ways we reach our publics
  •  totally agree. Of course content key but journalist relationships also essential in our profession
  1. absolutely! A conversation matters & can express much more than an email, tweet or release. Ensures understanding

  2. that’s difference being in house vs agency life. You would be in charge resources, budget def not media relations

  3. Investing time in building relationships that mean stories, good / bad / in between, get a fair hearing in context

  4. Still worth rolling up sleeves some of the time. +there will always be complex, mission critical things.

  5. personality – you have to be memorable, and reliability. Both are key I think

  6. the media sell in always needs a bit of personality too to help stand out

  7. this is tension exists current PR agencies.To move up ladder media relations delegated

  8. perhaps juniors just need more training before being given a database & a phone?

  9. having an interest and being inquisitive. Draws out a story. Also, being able to build relationships.

  10. building meaningful relationships with journalists, understanding how they work and respecting they have a job to do

  11. Hello, it’s also at the moment. Can you help us spread the word?

  12. yep; provided you’re targetting the media your audience values in the first place

  13. T2: An entreprenurial mindset mixed w/ creative problem solving as seen in book .

  14. I’d say that “media” skills relate more to “organizational narrative” (in many forms) re: PR, vs. marketing publicity

  15. This is forgivable though because senior PRs should become less involved in the ‘do’

  16. . Judgement, informed by sound grasp of the business and changing tides of our profession

  17. You still see it as an effective tool then? There’s still room for the telephone?

  18. true – until a few yrs ago more senior staff insisted on the ‘did you get my release?’ call

  19. T1: essential, face of media’s changing but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re all professional story tellers

  20. and what makes a person skilled at media relations? What are the key requirements?

  21. I still do the media sell-in – I don’t dread it, I see it as a task to be mastered & lead by example (hopefully)

  22. but a senior person is paid to be ‘strategic’ ‘manage’ and oversee the process

  23. to understand people/ audiences and what motivates them.

  24. And the risk is that senior people lose touch with what will work

  25. yep, good PR people are well placed there. Those who rely largely on publicity to acheive this less so

  26. An ethical approach to work

  27. T2: creativity and relevant idea generation

  28. always thought that was ridiculous when it’s such a skilled job to grab someone’s attention in a few seconds

  29. totally agree. Of course content key but journalist relationships also essential in our profession

  30. T2: To be able to communicate well, both in writing and in person.

  31. A mistake, IMHO. Everyone in my team at work does pitching.

  32. T2: I think the ability to see an issue/story from multiple perspectives and use this to find best way of communicating it

  33. oh and a fabulous dash of creativity

  34. Very often or not the ‘dreaded’ media sell in is delegated down most junior member of team & numbers game

  35. you said it already “professionalism”

  36. The most important quality of a PR practitioner is to express ideas well, to be able to write

  37. don’t forget to use that hashtag!

  38. agree. It’s a channel to use to get message out there. There are others but traditional media still holds sway

  39. T2: What is the most important quality a PR professional can demonstrate?

  40. how does professionalization undervalue the skill?

  41. hasn’t reputation, value and relationship building ALWAYS been the bailiwick (& most valued skills) in PR ?

  42. T1: Media relations is vital. It’s inextricably linked to direct contact, social, digital & all other ways we reach our publics

  43. agreed, strong communications skills can adapt to new channels!

  44. not just young people – plenty of ‘older’ pr’s think the same – nothing to do with age

  45. T1: I’m an evangelist for media relations Skills it develops – ppl skills, news sense, communication, courage – really matter

  46. but still core PR professionals skill set. Trad media still plays role setting public opinion & highlighting cause

  47. Interesting, in which case what’s taking its place as the most valued skill?

  48. still important even in digital age as journos still call about stories and documentaries & good handling skills vital

  49. Media relations is also a great grounding that gives skills that help in all forms of stakeholder engagement

  50. Reading papers, tapping news agenda crucial skills. Fear on path to professionalisation&efforts to be strategic skill undervalued

  51. T1: it’s a declining part, caused by changes in the industry and explosion of other channels

  52. Very – media relations is an important part of what PR practitioners do – 78% of agencies do people it.

  53. thanks for a lovely warm welcome

  54. woo welcome!

  55. welcome! I’m a addict 😉

  56. Let’s get the ball rolling, T1: How important are media relations skills for modern PR professionals?

  57. Hello to my first

  58. Hi Nafisa!

  59. Tonight you’re hosted by Emily from Communicate magazine

  60. Hi everyone – looking forward to chatting about a topic which is a real passion of mine – value of media relations

  61. Hi Alex, thanks for joining us

  62. Hello. Great to be part of the chat.

  63. Please don’t forget to use the hashtag in your replies

  64. : looks at all aspects relating to communications, When: Mondays, 8:00pm UK.

  65. Welcome to tonight’s the weekly tweetchat for the comms industry. Tonight we’re joined by and


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