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Sitting around the dinner table last night my family and I were having a typical ‘solve the problems of the worlds’ conversation over a few glasses of red and the topic of respecting politicians came up.
Everyone around the table had some very valid points, but the one consensus that surfaced, regardless of political persuasion, age or gender, was that the Prime Minister of Australia should be referred to as just that, ‘Prime Minister’.
This may sound odd at first, but there have been several examples in recent media coverage, especially in interviews and even in the leader’s debate held a few weeks back, where political commentators are referring to the prime minister as Julia, or Ms Gillard.
The dialogue between politicians and members of the media seems to have evolved. There appears to be more banter, brazen comments, questions and innuendo, as well as moments of utter premeditated humiliation.
As the youngest member of last night’s ‘family’ debate it lead me to question whether politicians have bought this predicament upon themselves? Do they warrant as much respect as they used to, in the ‘good ol’ days’? I was quickly reminded of a time when slogans such as, ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ echoed throughout political campaigns.
My recollection of political history is obviously filtered through the views of my parents and elders so I don’t assume to have objectivity, but in this current political climate I can’t help but feel like the ‘strategies’ used by politicians in their media/political campaigns are so cautious, contrived and self-edited that it does breed a seed of resentment. Are we expected to just lap it up without question?
The same can be said in day-to-day PR campaigns not just political PR. Is it better to offer the public honesty and transparency and take a risk by humanising your organisation and making it somewhat vulnerable? Or do you play it safe and treat the public like the ignorant masses and assume they won’t question what they’re not told?
I would like to think there are still a majority of people out there that don’t take information on face value and that honesty in communication is paramount. There seems to be a focus on how you say it, rather than what you say these days- I think both are equally important.
I love it when I can put an Oscar Wilde quote in context, so let’s finish on this pearler… “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900)
After attending a PRIA event last night called the ‘Perfect Pitch’, I retired for the evening feeling enlightened, yet slightly deflated.
It was a well organised night and a great atmosphere for meeting some new people (please note my deliberate avoidance of the term ‘networking’- the thought of straining for ‘mutually beneficial’ relationships rather than a simple ‘hey how’s it going, I like your shoes’ over a glass of bubbly makes me cringe- but that’s a whole different blog in the making)
The guest speakers were great and offered insight into the day to day happenings at a women’s lifestyle mag, a day in the life of a television morning show producer and some pearls of wisdom from a part time and passionate food blogger. All of these women are top of their game and it was great to hear them speak about the nature of their jobs and industries. It offered a humanised explanation of what PR’s can sometimes perceive as irrational editor hostility. In reality they’re just super duper busy women under tight deadlines.
But despite its name, the lingering theme of the evening was, ‘there is no such thing as a perfect pitch’. Like with anything, it is completely subjective.
Apparently Mia Freedman does not want that follow up call after a media release, in stark contrast to last night’s guest speaker who thinks it’s imperative. Some journalists prefer emails to phone calls, some will divert your calls to their voicemail time and time again and some will never write back to your emails. Most bloggers seem to operate according to their own guidelines and ethics and will not pander to PR product pushes. Some will fiercely resist them all together. Alternately, some won’t.
So what’s a girl (or guy) to do? How do you combat such vastly differing requirements from editors, producers, journalists and bloggers?
It seems to me that the one request from the media corner last night was for the superfluous niceties to be cut out of press releases and email interaction. Basically, time is precious, so don’t waste it.
Conversely, there was a universal agreement that the way to succeed in your PR efforts is to build real and tangible media relationships, and in order to do this convincingly, one must dabble in the odd bit of wining, dining and schmoozing.
So is the simple answer a free coffee and a face to face catch up? If only I could get past voicemail.
I recently read an interesting article on Mashable/Social Media titled Why food bloggers are here to stay by Jenny An, a food, popular culture and travel writer. The article discusses how food blogs and bloggers have become the new staple of online food writing.
This, I would have to agree with. I am an avid reader of a number of food blogs and I believe that they have numerous benefits over traditional food media.
Not only do you learn about exciting new places to eat and drink at but you get to see all the amazing food and drinks before you commit to trying them. As Jenny An notes, “Words alone are no longer good enough to be involved in the conversation.”
There are so many reasons why food blogs are immensely helpful I could go on for hours but just to name a few:
- If a restaurant doesn’t have a website it is likely you will find a review of it on a blog discussing menu options, prices and atmosphere.
- If you are stuck for ideas of where to go for a meal/drink just go onto the site of a local blogger and scroll through all the options.
- You can avoid those horrid restaurant experiences by reading reviews before you choose where to eat – though, you will need to find a blogger who has similar tastes to you first, preparing yourself for a few not so hot meals in the first instance to work this out.
Jenny An’s article also brings up the interesting and controversial topic of ethics. It discusses how publicists have long offered complementary meals to traditional media despite it being generally considered taboo to accept. Yet, is it ok for food bloggers to accept these meals?
I believe that as long as they disclose the fact that they dined on behalf of the restaurant and promise to write truthfully about their meal then there shouldn’t be a problem.
My personal favourite food blogger, Not Quite Nigella, notes on her blog that she will “only write about items that she personally likes or finds interesting. With product and restaurant reviews, she writes them honestly taking the good as well as the bad which means she will talk about the positive as well as the negative as that’s what her readers value.”
It is obvious after reading a couple of her posts that Not Quite Nigella is truthful about her experience whether she attends on behalf of the restaurant or not.
However, how do we know that all bloggers have kept their promise of being truthful with their reviews? I am keen to hear your thoughts.
The latest DRPR Drumbeat Newsletter is here!
From the Chairman is an article called the age of communication, about the impact of new gadgets for communication.
A case study from Kim shows how DRPR brought the Almond Board of Australia’s new season’s almonds advertising campaign to life.
Petra explores the latest online buzz, Foursquare. An application creating buzz in the online space, and explains how businesses can get involved.
Gill discusses whether social media has become ‘socialist media’, in her article on consumers gaining control of the market through social media.
And all the latest happenings for DRPR.
Something I’ve begun to notice recently is that my younger colleagues (notice I didn’t called them the dreaded Gen Y) seem to be suffering from a two year itch. And, no I’m not talking about their relationships, but their length of employment.
I know you’re probably thinking this is the biggest generalisation and of course it doesn’t apply to everyone but it’s something I’ve experienced recently when two of DRPR’s staff left at the same time and both had notched up two years service – almost to the day.
In the 80s and 90s, five years in one job was considered the norm. I worked at Panasonic for five years in the mid to late 90s and this was followed by Dick Smith Electronics for more than three years. I know you’re all thinking that sounds like an eternity but you’d be surprised how quickly those years whizzed by.
There are of course advantages and disadvantages to this two year phenomenon.
From an employee’s perspective I suppose it keeps things interesting. You’re always finding new challenges, meeting new people, getting pay rises and adding to your resume. But it also means that you’re constantly taking yourself out of your comfort zone – just when you settle and get used to ‘how things are done around here’ – you’re off.
From an employer’s perspective it means the business is constantly being disrupted but on the other hand there is fresh blood and ideas being injected. On the downside, it also means that employers become resigned to the fact that their staff will up and leave every two years and therefore won’t try very hard to retain them with bonuses and incentives. They also won’t nurture them as much with offers of training.
I’d love to know if other people have experienced the same ‘two year itch’ phenomenon or am I just generalising.