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Journalists on Facebook

Facebook announced a new “Journalists on Facebook” Page yesterday, a new Facebook Page dedicated to helping journalists use Facebook as a reporting tool. My first reaction to this announcement was, didn’t they do that last fall? Yes, Facebook did launch Facebook for Media last Fall, but that Page is more geared to media, the organization.

Journalists on Facebook (or Facebook and Journalists, depending on what you read), is all about the individual. It exists to help journalists better wrangle the power of Facebook for journalism – both from Facebook-provided best practices and peer collaboration from a swelling community of journalism professionals.

What Can You Expect From Journalists On Facebook?

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Best Gifts for the Journalists On Your List

It’s crunch time. Christmas is less than two weeks away, and if you’re anything like me, you’re just now realizing how much is left to buy. It’s even worse when there’s someone on your list who’s particularly dodgy to buy gifts.

Journalists, while notoriously easy to talk to, may just be among the hardest to shop for. The easiest way to make the journalist in your life, who may very well be working over the holidays,  happy this holiday season is getting them the things that will make their job, life, or just overall well-being better. If you’re not in the industry, though, that might be hard to do. All is not lost, here are some things that are sure to inspire you into the perfect gift for your journalist.

Happy holidays from Journalistics: Don’t say we’ve never gotten you anything.

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Do Journalists Need PR Professionals Anymore?

Quite a few Journalistics readers have suggested this topic for the blog. At first glance, I’m surprised anyone would question the value PR professionals provide for journalists. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity about off-topic pitches and “PR spammers” we see on a regular basis. I too have gone on and on about this topic in the past. The truth is, there are still thousands of journalists (and bloggers) who rely on public relations professionals for story suggestions and sources.

The popularity of services like HARO and ProfNet should be proof enough that journalists have a need for PR professionals. Granted, the need is more for sources and experts than PR professionals, but it’s usually the PR professionals who are scanning a lot of those queries looking for potential fits for the clients, organizations and individuals they represent. I recently interviewed close to a bunch of journalists for some research we’re doing for Journalistics and found that most reporters and bloggers still rely on PR professionals for a fair amount of the content they write. While a lot of reporters and bloggers complain about the off-topic pitches they receive from “lazy PR people”, when pressed, most will admit they have used information provided by a PR professional in a recent story. [Read more...]

Twitter Forces PR Pros to Get to the Point (Journalists Love It)

pointIs it just me, or are journalists and PR people playing nice in Twitter? For some reason, the media have embraced Twitter as their platform of choice. It’s hard to find an organization (or journalist) that has avoided Twitter’s inertia. Of course, where there are journalists, there are PR people. The most popular PR people on Twitter have tens of thousands of followers on Twitter (and they all follow the media too).

Despite there being many different directories and lists of media on Twitter, there has been little backlash from the media community. And to the best of my knowledge, the “PR spam” issue has yet to rear its ugly head in Twitterland. If that weren’t evidence enough, there’s the wildly popular #journchat (and several copychats) that regularly pull participants from both sides of the aisle (journos and flacks). That’s worth repeating… you have a bunch of journalists openly tweeting with PR folks about how to work more effectively together. The ratio of PR to journos does seem to be more skewed in favor of PR lately though, so it may not last much longer. That’s probably the case with most “tweet chats” in general, but that’s a future post.

So why is Twitter such a great place for journalists and PR people to exchange ideas, get to know one another, and go back to building relationships? PR pros only get 140 characters to get their point across. Which is why a lot of people like Twitter. It forces all of us to get to the point for a change. Let’s face it, some people use too many words. I’m one of them. I could have done without this entire sentence in this paragraph.

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How Do Journalists and Bloggers Decide What to Write About?

How do journalists and bloggers decide what to write about?

If you guessed they get all their ideas from PR people, you’re dreaming. Though a surprising number do. While it may be common sense for some of you, some might not know how journalists and bloggers decide what to write about (or which stories to produce in the broadcast arena).

So how do journalists and bloggers decide what to write about? Here are a few of the most common responses we’ve heard from talking to dozens of them:

  • They get assigned a story from editors, along with the sources they should interview for the piece – often from an in-house database of go-to sources, built through long-term relationships with experts and PR professionals.
  • They write a story based on recent news events – in other words, they write about the news of the day. This is one of the biggest areas of opportunity for PR pros, since they can latch onto the hot stories to position their experts as spokespeople or suggest new and exciting angles to cover. Tie-ins to Twitter and the Octo-Mom coverage are two current examples.
  • They get an idea for a story based on their knowledge and experience covering a beat, and reach out to their trusted sources to flesh out the details.
  • They have original ideas for stories that aren’t out there. They come up with story ideas we’ve never thought of, do the research, and entertain us with their findings. PR can play a role here, if pros can point out a story-of-interest that hasn’t been told yet.
  • They expand upon coverage another journalist or blogger has written about, offering us fresh perspective or counter point, or telling the article as it relates to us locally.
  • They talk to people. They stay in close contact with their best sources or they attend industry events and conferences. The challenge for you is

This is only a sampling of ways journalists and bloggers decide what to write about. Understanding how story ideas originate can help you be a more effective media relations professional.

Keep reading for more information on Where Journalists Find Information About Your Company and Where Journalists Look to Find Expert Sources. [Read more...]

Will Journalists Flock to PR? We Can Only Hope.

More and more journalists are working on their resumes instead of articles these days. Just glance at the business section of the newspapers they used to work for and you’ll see headlines about more media downsizing and publications closing their doors. It’s a sad reality of the evolving media climate. While media organizations struggle with what business model will work best for the future, many journalists are finding themselves figuring out what’s next for them.

Personally, I’d like to see more journalists on the PR side of the equation. Some of the best PR people I’ve worked with have been reporters in their past lives. While many journalists might view making the transition to PR as crossing over to the darkside, I think it could be one of the best things for PR today. Here are a few reasons why journalists make better PR people:

  • Journalists know how to write well (and edit)
  • Journalists work well under pressure
  • Journalists love deadlines (and meet them)
  • Journalists don’t mind working long hours (or at off-peak times)
  • Journalists know how to find the story behind the story
  • Journalists know what journalists want
  • Journalists know how to not piss off other journalists
  • Journalists have existing relationships in the media

I could go on an on about this topic, but I’ve made my point. I can’t think of a client that wouldn’t want a journalist working on their account. A journalist brings far more credibility to the account team (and the agency) than many other PR professionals. The smart agencies (and corporations for that matter) should be monitoring media layoffs closely, they just might find their next best hire.

Are you a journalist contemplating a move to PR? Have you already made the switch? Let us know.