Convergence Journalism: How Does it Affect PR and Media Relations?

Convergence Journalism: How Does it Affect PR and Media Relations? Tressa Robbins BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasThe oldest school of journalism in the United States (and possibly in the world), University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, added its first new major in 50 years when it added Convergence Journalism back in the fall of 2005. Over the past several years, news consumers have witnessed a revolution take place whereby we consume news stories via multiple platforms (traditional, digital, social) and in various formats such as long-form, short-form, textual, auditory, visual, formal/professional reporting, citizen reporting.

I recently attended a convergent media panel event (hosted by PRSA St. Louis) which featured Kelsey Proud with St. Louis Public Radio, Caryn Tomer with Techli.com, and Perry Drake (formerly of NYU) now with UMSL.

Proud started off with showing a perfect example of media convergence in a story they’ve just produced on chronic absenteeism in schools across Missouri. In this series, they utilized audio (radio), research/analytics, data, dynamic visuals and text.

Tomer discussed tailoring the story presentation to what their readers want. The staff likes (pertinent) press releases but may also use video, audio, text, social, linkbacks and even gamification to enhance the user experience.

All seemed to agree on how they decide what content makes it. Of course, it has to matter to their audience but beyond that—it’s all about emotion and reactions.

As the late Maya Angelou said:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How does this affect PR pitching/media relations efforts?

By now, most savvy PR pros know multimedia storytelling is no longer optional—it’s a necessity.

  • We must adapt and be flexible. Stories need to be told in different ways depending on the medium.
  • PR is no longer just accountable for the message—we’re now depended on for choosing the most effective modes and channels.
  • Effective public relations outreach does still include traditional media pitching (newspapers, magazines, television, radio) but may also include social media marketing, blogs, content marketing, web development and analytics, graphic design, SEO, and emerging technologies we aren’t even aware of yet.
  • Don’t be afraid to partner and/or collaborate as necessary. If you are ill-equipped in a certain area, take advantage of the opportunity to learn and expand your skill set!
  • This new media model is dynamic – making it fluid and spontaneous, requiring PR pros to be quick on their feet and adept at managing communities, not just a message.

How do you see multimedia journalism affecting your job?

This post originally appeared on June 2, 2014, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2014/06/convergence-journalism-how-does-it-affect-pr-and-media-relations and is cross-posted here with permission.

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