New Year Media Forum


Spent this morning at the Eventure NEW YEAR MEDIA FORUM (Meet the Media and Plan Your Tactics for 2009)

Leading media (almost exclusively traditional media – Newspapers and Television) were on the panel and in the audience for sessions with people from PR businesses, Press Offices and PR Departments in local goverment departments.

The opening session was interesting to listen to.  Remember these are all TV and Print people.  What was being said marked two changes – first the one that affects all media these days – finance, budget and audien ces.  But there is a particularly Northern Ireland aspect to this; the changing nature of news in Northern Ireland and that is just as signicicant.

Somethings we already know: Life is getting tighter in all media businesses in particular Newspapers.  One newspaper’s business editor said that Business news once tucked away is now Front Page – however, that’s making filling the Business Pages harder.

News sales are being driven by Advertising Sections.  Top three weekly sellers by day: Jobs, then Property, then Cars.  Interesting to hear a News Man admitting something we already are aware of as consumers.  His message?  Newspapers must think about moving from News to Informing and Educating.  That’s a realistic if bold statement.

Younger people are switched off (one news man said “switched off by News Papers” I would argue they are switched off by stories) and find the news they want online.

Journalists will have to work harder – News no longer Orange and Green and readers no longer interested in O/G politics in local councils.  The news is no longer led by the Police overnight report. Journalists will have to work harder to investigate and tell the story – not just trot out the facts and get a couple of quotes from either side of the political divide.

There is a new journalistic job (new for NI traditional media, anyway) questioning and explaining policy, spending, effect on public and people. 

Younger journalists will have to learn our history – some simply don’t know what happened here over the last 40 years.

More young people know about US elections (and more interested) than Stormont.

Some tips for PRs

  • Don’t tell me about the policy and the launch then trot out the Chief Executive, bring me the person who it will affect and bring me the person who will “do it””
  • Remove these two words from your press releases – “delight” and “major”
  • If you want newspaper space, bring me the Story not the puff piece.

My messages: 
      Core message

  • If you only use the web for sending out a message you are missin two thirds of the resource; the information coming back and the conversation,
  • Use the web and web tools to create your own channels,
  • Use the applications (Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, blogging etc) for yourself and learn how they work,
  • Observe how other people use them,
  • Then use them to develop the conversation not sell a product.

Additional messages


  • Digital media should be at the heart of a business and communications strategy
  • You are embarking on a relationship not a sales pitch.
  • This is what young consumers are doing now – in 15 years these are the people who will be ruling the world, business, politics and even PR.
  • If you don’t have the budget, then get people who believe in what you are doing to produce web content
  • Established management fear the loss of control – experiment outside work and bring evidence of how new media will work.

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