Media Relations in the Digital Age

15 July 2010

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend my first Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) event with the National Capital Chapter, “Media Relations in the Digital Age.” The event featured a panel of reporters which included The Economist’s Greg Ip, Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer, The Washington Post’s Ceci Connolly, and Kaiser Health News’ Jordan Rau.

What does media relations look like in an increasingly digital age? While there are definitely changes in the options we have available for communication, the overall message was that good reporter-source relationships are still the key to getting your message across.  As a recent graduate I was surprised by the lack of emphasis reporters on the panel placed on social media. When asked how public relations professionals can use social media to generate coverage, the general consensus was that some of their colleagues in the newsroom used Facebook and Twitter to find sources, but that it had little to do with their search in finding news stories. Other tips? The panel emphasized that the same good practices that existed prior to the digital age are as important as ever – suggest stories to reporters based on what they are writing on, and following the current news trends are key.  

I also came across an article on media relations by ReadWriteWeb’s Audrey Watters, which seemed to go along with yesterday’s event perfectly. “Why Press Releases Aren’t Always the Best Way to Get Press,” also addressed positive ways public relations professionals can engage reporters and journalists. The article mentions following reporters on social media as a good way to listen to what they are saying, but also reflected the opinion that genuine relationships are as important as ever. 

By Sara Hiller (Tech Intern)

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