Earlier this week, I attended PRSA Detroit’s “Meet the media” event atthe American CancerSociety where a sold out group of public relations professionals gatheredaround three of Metro Detroit’s go-to media contacts in effort to gain valuableinsight about the changing media landscape and how it is effecting theirprofession as well as public relations.

Bill Shea, Crain’sDetroit Business, Rob Davidek, WWJ 950and Dan Zacharak, WXYZ-TVprovided insight about how the changing media environment, social media and theeconomy have impacted how they do their job, therefore sharing better ways forcommunicators to do our job.

Detroit media is semi-social

From this panel, the answer would be – kind of.  Socialmedia still is not as widely adopted by the media as we might think. For themost part, social media platforms are being used as a means to distributeinformation, not to create conversation. With the exception of Shea who sharedan example of using Facebook to reach people and even conduct interviews, thepanelists didn’t show much interest of engaging in social media andcommunicating. 

News is immediate and information is overwhelming

One of the things all three panelists were in agreement onis that the evolution of digital and social media has certainly changed themedia landscape and had a significant impact on how they do their jobs.

As PR professionals, we also have to change the way we aredoing our jobs to be in-line with the needs of the media. A once weeklypublication like Crain’s Detroit Business is no longer just a weekly.Breaking news is on their Web site and reporters are real-time transmitters ofnews.  A radio outlet, WWJ-AM, is no longer just radio. Print, podcastsand even video are now components.

The other change digital and social media has made for mediais the amount of information that is available.  Communicators need toensure we are communicating our messages in the most clear and concise fashionas possible.

Is the press release dead?

The press release is alive and well, as long as it iswritten and delivered correctly. Media still find this tool a valuable sourceof information. A few pet peeves:

1.       Makesure the release is as thorough and concise as possible.

a.      For broadcast like WXYZ-TV, specifically callingout visuals components of events, etc., as well as spokespersons or VIPs willalso help

2.       Don’tsend the release as an attachment

a.      Emails are quickly being read through and havingall the information right in the body of the email allows them to quicklyglance over it

3.       Follow-up,follow-up, follow-up

a.      Sometimes we all forget that before email, wehad to pick up a phone to communicate. All three panelists said they absolutelyhave no problem with following up. Tip: Make sure you are pitching the rightperson. Be knowledgeable about what beat the reporter covers and what is ofinterest to them.

Overall, the session showed that communication needs to betargeted and strategic, something that we focus on every day in our profession.

— Deana Goodrich