Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Corporate communications and media relations during election campaignin Russia

Mass media have maintained their important role in socio-political and economic life of Russia. During the elections campaign, media relations no doubt get more attention from all the sides involved. Businesses are advised not to conduct PR campaigns targeting negative publicity, since this could produce an adverse effect. Instead, they should watch and use any speaking opportunities for their in-house experts as the waves generated by the election candidates' spin doctors leave journalists craving for commentary and opinion.

There are legal requirements imposed on mass media in Russia during the elections campaign. Express trials mean the businesses should have all the proof at hand, as copyright infringement and business reputation protection cases start to prevail. PR materials are checked by legal departments of mass media, therefore it takes more time before they make it to the public. Ads are thoroughly checked for copyright clearances (illustrations, photos, sounds, etc.). Businesses are also advised against promoting any corporate social responsibility projects featuring candidates from political parties.

Speaking of election campaigns by political parties. Many make use of the local agenda. Regional conflict a national or international company may encounter during a campaign, could be deliberately articulated. Businesses that have entered into dialog with the public at the start of a major infrastructure or development project show better resilience in such conflicts.

The above is a summary resolution as published by Russian Managers Association's Committee on Mass Media and Information Policy on 25 November, 2011.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Heisenberg uncertainty principle in defense of news agency reporting

On both sides of the communications barricades news agency reporting is often compared to producing commodities. At RIA Novosti top editors often use the phrase 'sausage factory' to illustrate our way of making newswires. There are two strong points in favor of such approach – consistency of content and balance of its accuracy.

Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that you can accurately measure physical particle's position or its momentum (velocity, given the mass is known too), but not both at once.

With news agency reporting you're also most likely to start a news story by knowing accurately either time of an event or its causes. For example, if we know what caused a critical malfunction of a satellite, we may not know for sure when and where it would fall down. Reporting on a sudden crash of a satellite we won't know the exact reasons for that.

News agency reporters are strong in producing consistent accuracy-balanced content. IMHO, they just can't be beat for simultaneous reporting on developing stories and producing background and insight into them.