Don’t mess with the press

10 August, 2010

There have been a couple of stories already this week that have illustrated just how hard it is now to stop both the media and the general public from talking about you – and the harder you try, the more they talk.

For some reason, Southampton FC’s executive chairman Nicola Cortese made the decision to ban national and local newspaper photographers from the game. Suffice to say both the local and national press didn’t take too kindly to being forced to use official photography. The Sun used the first part of its match report to complain about the decision and then for the rest refused to name Southampton, instead just calling them ‘the opposition.’

In contrast the Plymouth Herald newspaper hired artist Chris Robinson to sketch cartoons of the action resulting in some of the most unique pictures to accompany a match report in memory.  The second of the two is frankly brilliant and a trend that I’d like to see more of in football stories.

Also in the news is Tory MP Dominic Raab who has demanded his email be removed from website 38 Degrees as he doesn’t have time to go through all the emails he gets a result. The website has refused to back down (supported by the Information Commissioners office) saying that as an MP, his email address should be public. Suffice to say that as a result the story went viral on Twitter and this morning appears in many of the day’s papers gaining the hapless MP even more publicity (and no doubt emails) than he ever would have got originally.

The lesson for everyone here? Sometimes, no matter how much you think something is a good idea, it’s best not to take on either the media or the internet…

(Image from The Daily Nation)


Work Experience at EML

26 May, 2010

As a student looking at a possible future in PR, I knew that it would be a competitive industry to get into. Considering this, I thought that the best way to make myself more appealing to the PR market would be to undertake some PR work experience and thankfully I knew someone to place me in the right direction, that being with EML.

Before I started my work experience with EML I was petrified! This due to the fact that I was unsure as to whether or not I would be able to undertake the tasks given to me, how well I would get on with people in the company and whether I would impress. However, I can honestly say that throughout my whole 4 weeks of being here I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and learnt a lot about the PR industry. I was given worthwhile tasks that I found interesting and I feel like I actually learnt something from doing them. These included researching journalists through through various tools, which I was intrigued by as I didn’t have a clue as to how PR companies went about contacting the vast amount of journalists in the world. I was also given the privilege of being allowed to come along to witness a pitch given by EML to a possible client. This gave me an insight into how PR companies need to sell themselves and made me realise that I really need to brush up on my presenting skills! Going along to meet a journalist was also different and interesting, as I got to understand how EML has to maintain a keen interest from journalists.

What made it so much easier for me to find it interesting and worthwhile was the fact that I worked with such friendly, easygoing staff (not that they slack on the job!). I felt comfortable with asking questions, which is something that a lot of newcomers can struggle with.

Given the chance again, I would grab it with both hands and I would definitely recommend work experience to any student, purely to get a taster of what work life is actually like and whether they would actually enjoy their prospective career. EML has been brilliant with providing me with work experience and like I have said before, everything I have taken part in has given me a much better idea of how PR works. It’s a lot different learning about PR to actually working in it, in a good way.

I must also mention that all EML staff are immense cooks and so you can’t be afraid of eating plenty of food if you work with them!


*Unfortunately EML is not currently in a position to accept any more work experience requests

The police are listening

13 May, 2010

Must be a slow news day at the BBC. A man from Brighton was ‘shocked’ to find out that the local police force in Brighton were following him on Twitter. That’d be Twitter, the publicly viewable site where anyone can follow your updates unless you make your profile private. The one where if you mention certain keywords you quickly acquire a whole load of extra followers trying to sell you something from that industry.

Ssshh, the police are watching

As the spokesperson for the Police in Brighton said, “We use Twitter to engage with the community in a really immediate way. It’s really helpful for us because we can allay any fears or rumours going round.
We can also engage with them and ask them what they want. It’s better than traditional media in that sense.”

Quite. It’s hardly like you’re going to pick up people tweeting “just broken into a house, ROFLMAO,” but instead you might see people in the area complaining about the noise or something relevant where you can get in touch quickly to address these concerns. Twitter isn’t just a medium for businesses and the media, there’s no reason at all why public bodies such as the Police shouldn’t get involved to speak directly to those they serve.

Of course it can go completely overboard as the ‘joke’ tweet about blowing up an airport showed in what has to be one the most ridiculous court cases and conviction in memory.

Microsoft ditches Vista

14 April, 2010

What? The operating system that was going to change the world?  The one that would compete with Apple? The one that everyone would want to use?

Its passing is such sweet sorrow. (Sorry I’m getting mixed up with Twitter Romeo & Juliet here.) I remember when it came in and one of our clients was having to pre-install Windows XP over the top of Vista to make any sales.  Then it all settled down and millions around the world had to buy Vista operated PCs as that was all on offer. So what happens just over three years down the line? Microsoft dumps them in it with no support or security updates.

Nice one Bill – the hackers’ friend

Save as many as you can.

29 March, 2010

As an owner of a large ‘older’ car, built the year the Dow closed above 4000 for the first time in history, the WTO was established, when 10x murderess Rose West got life and Microsoft released Windows 95 [oops gave it away with that last one], I’ve always had a slightly [emphasis on the slightly] guilty conscience about the volume of energy I use.

Yes this really is the way my kids get to school, sometimes.

The news covered by Richard Black today at the BBC lets me rest a little easier, the gulf stream is not slowing down. Phew, the day after tomorrow isn’t just round the corner and all those people trapped in New York’s library will remain safely inside a “DVD bargain” for many years to come.  Ironically I could have bought that excellent film as a double-feature with, of all things, Independence Day – today at the lunchtime supermarket checkout for just £5, but I digress.

The fact that this environment story made headline news at all today says an awful lot about the awareness that has settled throughout the developed world. No one can claim they know nothing about that story before they read a Gulf Stream ‘is not slowing down’ headline.

In 1995 I’d have been mostly ignorant and generally un-caring.

The Times they are a’ charging

26 March, 2010

Today The Times and The Sunday Times announced that, from June, they will start charging for access to online content.

The whole pay-wall debate has been going on in the media for quite some time now, with the FT already charging for content and even a few of the trade press such as Global Telecoms Business joining in. While the FT has been successful, I’m not convinced that The Times or The Sunday Times will be able to pull it off.
The FT is so specialist that people don’t mind paying for the content. However news on The Times, aside from the columnists, is all available for free on The BBC and countless other websites. Admittedly the charge is only £1 a day or £2 for a week, which isn’t much. But that’s still £2 that you wouldn’t need to pay on the BBC.

Oddly one of the more sensible suggestions on the paid-for debate came from Charlie Brooker’s column in August. The idea of a system of micro payments is, I believe, a good one as it doesn’t really feel like you’re spending anything. But crucially this needs to be adopted across the board otherwise people will just go elsewhere for free.

It’ll be interesting to see how successful this experiment is, as a lot of people are commenting, why would you pay for content that you can get elsewhere for a similar (or better depending on your preference of newspaper/website) standard for free?

The plot thickens/a thick plot

5 February, 2010

In the last year or so plenty of publications have been cut and staff numbers reduced. One of the papers that didn’t make it through was evening free sheet The London Paper. With this in mind there were plenty of raised eyebrows last year when a new London free paper was announced.

The London Weekly, which published its first issue today, has been a bit of a mystery for the last few months with nobody sure who was writing for it. It didn’t seem to have a clear idea of what it was doing either.

It’s a tough time to launch any new title, let alone one that is going into an already highly competitive market. It therefore seems odd to launch a paper that leaves people with little (if any) idea of what its supposed to be.

The first edition hit the streets this morning and to say it looks poorly put together is a slight understatement, I can only assume it was put together by someone’s child on work experience.

See here for some more photos but it really doesn’t look good, to say it looks like a small local paper would be doing a massive disservice to local papers. And spelling someone’s name wrong on the front page isn’t a great start either.

Another edition is due out next week and it will be interesting to see if there is any improvement. Many people have already questioned if the paper is actually a joke, but if not, and the next edition (if it makes it that far) doesn’t show any improvement, then I really can’t see such a poor paper lasting long in what is such an incredibly competitive market.