From the days of writing articles and press releases with typewriters, the roles of Public Relations (PR) professionals and journalists have changed, along with the skills required. These changes have been driven through technology, especially with the evolution of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and blogging platforms, such as WordPress.
Last week, I attended an event organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) called Facing the Future. Held at Edge Hill University’s magnificent Creative Edge building, the purpose of the event was to look at what the future holds for PR and journalism. As a blogger, this piqued my curiosity enough to attend and find out more. I found the event to be an unique and interesting experience, as it gave me a glimpse into the world of PR and journalism.
The event featured two excellent speakers in Sarah Pinch, the president of CIPR and Alastair Machray, the editor in chief of Trinity Mirror in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. Sarah and Alastair both touched on the importance of advertising revenue in printed and digital media, and of the need to work closely with others. Both speakers also reiterated the importance of demonstrating ethical responsibility, openness, honesty and high standards of professional conduct, and to avoid bringing employers into disrepute. It was this statement about demonstrating high standards of ethics and honestly, that I believed was the most important lesson of the night. This is because ethics and honestly must be applied universally across all professions.
Other interesting points about journalism and PR that I learned included:
1. Ethics and judgement are more important than tools and skills.
2. Vital to grow a local audience.
3. The deadline is now, as today’s news becomes instantly forgotten!
4. Write in plain English and avoid jargon.
5. Content needs to be audience driven.
Upon reflection, I felt the event was informative and engaging, to listen to and learn from. I have learnt that journalism is about collecting, writing and distributing audience and advertising friendly information. I have also learned it is vital to maintain a strong sense of ethics, honesty and openness for successful management of reputation and branding. To conclude, all the above not only applies to those working in PR or journalism, but also to professionals in every industry.