I really enjoyed this weeks readings, and getting to understand some of the best ways to create media relations and to communicate with journalists. A key point I got from both readings was the usefuleness of using e-mails to communicate with, or send information to journalists. From the study in the 'To contact...or not? Investigating journalists' assesment of public relations subsidies and contact preferences' reading, an overwhelming 93% of journalists prefferred e-mails as the method of contact. Although I see the benefits of using e-mail (some of which are outlined in the 'Writing a Media Release' reading; speed of delivery, tailoring of media releases, cost effective), I think my prefferred communication would be face to face, as I think this would ensure a stronger relationship.
Having done the 'ethics' topic of the debate last week, my mind was still buzzing over public relations and ethics, so I found the fact that from the study 69% of journalists think PR practitioners lack ethics really interesting. What was more interesting was that the study went on to say that some journalists stated that those PR practitioners who had experience in journalism were more 'skilled and ethical' than those who had no experience in journalism. I can understand this statement from the fact that public relations practitioners need to understand the media and how it works; however I'm unaware how having experience in journalism would help PR practitioners become more ethical?
A key point I discovered from the 'Writing a Media Release' reading was that there can be 'hard' news (breaking news/serious news) or 'soft' news (human interest news/entertaining news). I understand the differentiation between the two but had never heard them explained in those terms before. These two different types of news attract different audiences and different media outlets, so the importance of writing a media release specifically for the type of media outlet you want it important. The task of making it appealing to that type of media is also important, and the various suggestions in the reading to do so were quite fascinating (eg have a celebrity participate, create good photo opportunities, localise the information etc).
My learning this week builds upon previous learning about public relations in that the media release is the most popular method of communicating with the media. In the proffesional writing course last semester, they focused very much on the media release as a vital tool in creating media relations and getting your story across to the media, and in turn, the publics. This weeks reading also accentuated what was outlined last week in that public relations practitioners must become aware of the styles and formats of different media outlets, how they operate and who is in charge of what.