By Gary Bridgens
If you practice public relations, I needn’t explain to you that news information is truly a driving force at the core of our industry. For those of you who don’t practice the trade, believe me – it is. At its root function, the news informs, persuades and integrates publics all throughout the world. Sounds familiar, right?
Through my work as an aspiring PR pro, I’ve realized news information can be a determining factor in anything from event success to reorganization of campaign strategies. With research, reference, consumer branding and relationship building as just a few of the many advantages of news information to PR practitioners, the bond between the two industries continues to grow over time.
My point is… if you don’t watch, read, listen to, or care about the news, I suggest you get started! Here are a few tips to help you out as you delve into the world of news and media information:
If you’re getting your news from one source, and one source only – you’re doing it all wrong. Don’t let your personal affiliations or viewpoints serve as the reason you reject a certain publication or journalist (unless, of course, unethical practices are involved). Sometimes the news isn’t presented exactly the way you like it, but that’s why you learn to pitch like a pro. Your sources or contacts don’t always have to cover both extreme sides of the spectrum, but they shouldn’t cover just one either. The idea is to watch out for bias and inconsistency. You want news, so gather it via multiple sources and compare the information. I guarantee you’ll get a different viewpoint from each one. Diverse sourcing will help you become more familiar with the business and the industry publications there within. It’s important to know about the source or journalist you’re pitching to!
It’s well known that the majority of our younger generations resort to Twitter for their news information. Why not? To me, this seems like the most efficient and seamless manner of obtaining news. Virtually every news information source available can be found on Twitter. The best part is, you get to choose which ones you see! You want to create a wholesome blend of news sources on your news feed. If I follow CNN, I follow Fox News. If I follow one of those, I’ll then follow an industry publication to balance it out. Find what interests you (I promise it’s there) and click follow! That way, you can get valuable news information on the move and at your own pace.
In this industry, you need to be able to interpret news. Upon obtaining the news, you must ask yourself, “What does this story mean for my client and our goals?” Though news information can be undoubtedly overwhelming at times, it’s imperative to know what’s happening in our exponentially growing global society. Any historian will tell you, history has a tendency to repeat itself. The more you’ve learned from the news, the more prepared you’ll be to face future crises. Gather news, learn from it, and apply it to both your present and future business plans.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given was to “never stop learning.” I try to fill most of the voids in my day with useful or relative information. You may not think of many news stories as useful, but the more you know, the better. In public relations you “…need to know a lot about a little bit, and a little bit about a lot.”
That being said, take a different look at the news you read from now on and optimize the way you obtain your news to make the information process easier. Most importantly, make sure you take something away from every piece you read and never stop learning.