Directors' blog

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Will journalists write off journalists?

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Councils, police forces, global brands and individual consumers.

All of the above are now publishers.

So what’s to become of us journalists?

OK nothing I’ve  posted above should be news to anyone but, attending Friday’s social media seminar in Manchester really brought one issue home to me – the relevance of the journalist is under scrutiny.

Addressing an audience of mainly public relations professionals, speaker after speaker questioned this relevance when revealing their day-to-day activity.

“Why just send your release to 20 or so journalists when you can go direct to your audience?”

“Journalists, if something happens in the national press, can turn something we we saw as a positive, into a negative story.”

Just two examples I picked out from the day at the Don’t Panic Guide to Social Media (there’s plenty more to be found on Twitter using #dontpanic or via my blog postings from the day).

Of course they are right on both counts. The West Midlands Police force posting youtube clips of operations ensures it presents its activities in the way the force wants to. The PR company can prove to a client that the story has been seen by x number of users thanks to the measurables all social platforms provide.

(I would say that both points also have a counter argument to do with credibility, authority and watchdog but that’s a different blog post).

Looking through the eyes of the delegates mentioned above, you have to ask the question –  what is the point of us?

Interestingly just a few miles away in Salford Quays on the same day, the National Council for the Training of Journalists was also looking to the future as it considered what sort of skills people are going to need.

At least part of the conference considered the skills survey carried out among employers and training providers, and what did the employers want of this august body – shorthand!

I know much has already been said on this topic but doesn’t this rather exemplify a gulf between what’s actually going on in a landscape where all the rules of engagement are rapidly shifting, and what’s perceived to be the issues within (still largely print-centric) newsrooms?

I would love to believe that a  beautiful T-line outline would make the role of the journalist truly connected with an audience and retain their relevance so safeguarding the principles of journalism for generations to come.

But does anyone, anywhere actually believe that it will?

Written by sarahhartley

December 7th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

2 Responses to 'Will journalists write off journalists?'

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  1. It’s an area where PR’s with press experience can grow – and will, in my opinion – because now companies can take their message directly to the people bypassing the press. It’s another byproduct of newspapers relinquishing to Google. Now that people trust Google searches more than papers, it means people will take their info from anywhere – and newspapers are so distrusted that if they don’t pander to people’s own biases at that time then the information is disregarded anyway.

    Craig McGill

    13 Dec 08 at 11:31 pm

  2. good points

    Keith Williams

    24 Apr 09 at 10:00 pm

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