By Guest Blogger Tia Psaras
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the announcements from Fairfax Media and News Limited – I’ll leave that to the analysts. Suffice to say, I was gutted to hear about the looming redundancies.
As both a consumer of media and a public relations professional, the changes have me puzzling about what’s in store for the broader community, the way news is reported and what this all means for PR professionals.
We all knew the media landscape was relatively fluid but surely not many were prepared for the flood of change in the relatively short lifetime of social media. We’re all lost without a compass, and that includes Fairfax Media – and it takes a while to turn a corporate ship around (to continue the naval analogy).
One of its three stated objectives, around which changes at the organisation will revolve, is to position “the metro Media business to … provide flexibility to move the business to a digital-only model if that is what is required in the future”.
This statement alone has me asking so many questions – just for starters:
- Can print really be on the way out?
- What will happen to the quality journalism on which we rely for balanced reporting? Indeed, what will happen to the journalists?
- Will we see a rise in Australia of citizen journalism? If so, will we see more ‘group think’ and biased reporting?
Then there’s the now notorious Mumbrella opinion piece by Mango PR Head of Publicity Tina Alidis: How PRs will need to adapt to the Fairfax and News Limited upheavals where Tina attempts to analyse the knock-on effects. There is no doubt that it was a poorly timed piece that has drawn much criticism from both journalists and PR practitioners, but the analysis has received support by some of the more than 200 commentators following the article (at time of writing). The response highlights the fear and anger among the media, more than anything else.
From a more personal, professional perspective, I think we will (should) be drawn more than ever to the fundamentals of our profession, such as understanding the needs of the audience and stakeholders, open two-way communication driven by a strategic approach and backed by quality data that lets you know whether you’re on track, or not.
If anyone does know where we’re going, can I borrow your map?
She has 13 years’ corporate communications and consultancy experience, which includes the past three years running her own business, Little Bird Communications. She directs PR for a small number of clients and provides ad hoc and short-term writing and PR support for in-house PR and communications teams and consultancies.
When she’s not Little Bird, she’s Big Bird to two little boys and attempting to feather a literary nest as an author of children’s picture books. She’s also a knitter of socks and a baker of scones, addicted to Pinterest, and a volunteer member of the South Australian Country Women’s Association’s Marketing, Promotions and Publicity Working Party.