Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bloggers vs. News Agencies: A PR Perspective

In my EJC's Community blog post called Bloggers vs. News Agencies: Lessons Learned I wrote about some of the risks for the traditional media, namely news agencies. First of all, the risk to lag behind the social media with the breaking news. Which at this point is often a tug of war - sometimes the bloggers lead but most of the times it's the media who are first. Then, there's the risk of perception by the audience as being a media often lagging behind the bloggers.

This risk of perception requires some PR on media's behalf. For a news agency this job is even more difficult than for the end-user media since there are simply more sides to communicate to. Directly, to news makers, media and non-media clients. Indirectly, to the end-users. Media clients are more easy to persuade since they can judge a news agency's worthiness by its news wire. Non-media clients - corporates, banks, cellular operators etc. - are more affected by the public opinion. The latter is shaped by news makers and the end-users. Luckily, both the news-makers and end-users have one important thing in common. They can be bloggers worth listening to and worth communicating with as such.

That's why Blogger Relations could be exactly the kind of PR that the news media would require to improve their image. The AP has understood that back in 2010 launching editorial guidelines for credit and attribution, with many other news organizations following suit since then.

However, this is only one part of the Blogger Relations. The other should be involved more with letting bloggers better understand the role of the news agencies in reporting the breaking news. One straightforward way would be to offer to the bloggers a news alert service over SMS, Twitter or any other suitable media. That could help with the non-media PR, too. A more complex option would require competitions, training and internships of bloggers at news agencies.

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