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Read this: The Art of Public Relations

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The Art of Public Relations…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts, hi, I'm Andrea catherwood, and this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 hello today.

We are going to take a deep dive into the world of public relations and reveal some of the secrets of the trade journalism and PR have always had a symbiotic relationship, but the divide between the two used to be clear cut not anymore as we reported on the media show aspiring Media students can even take a combined degree in journalism and PR but was circulation and advertising revenues falling more and more news outlets or boosting her income with sponsored content it looks like a news story.

It might have been written by journalist, but is it still journalism if you were to draw a venn diagram to demonstrate how the world's of journalism and PR overlap it would look something like a panel today Alan Edwards is the founder of the eye.

Side agency what is looked after many celebrities from the world of music sports entertainment names like the Rolling Stones and the Beckhams Ian Gregory is a former business journalist goodnight specialises in getting good PR4 unlikely clients.

He is represented the fracking industry e-cigarettes and Grouse shooting.

He's the managing director of political and media relations company have said Polly Curtis is that your former editor-in-chief of huffpost UK she's also worked at the Guardian and a short spell npo before deciding that it wasn't for her and Karen Haynes it's a poacher turned gamekeeper.

He used to be a TV journalist before co-founding shout communications welcome all of you today for those who are a little bit hazy perhaps about the industrial exactly what it does can.

I just quickly ask each if you what is PR2 you Alan to providing information in a good and timely way and with a mind to my clients interests.

They get the best they get their argument or point of view across the country of balloons the world consists of Echo Chambers where people completely convinced about what they doing and I can a puncture somebody else's echo chamber, then he'll more about that later account.

I think I'm a bit more of the coalface and soapy off to me as I specialise in broadcast PR is about getting positive coverage for for my clients on on the airwaves and pulley for me at its best PR is the people who help you tell the story is your best contacts the people are expert in the people and things they represent at its worst they bully they lie and they block you get it when striking ok while we're going to come to the shop ends of pr.

Something that many people think about when they think of pr.

Crisis management a little bit later on but first.

I want to get that sense that you two were talking about Karen and Polly about the high PR influencers the

Use gender and not something that the general public often isn't really even supposed to be aware of namely journalists relying on the PS4 content carry, how much do that happened? What happened to not because I was about 15 years as a journalist the same again really in PR and I think if you took out PR related stories from the news agenda.

These days.

You would end up with a pretty big pole and I think how many stories just my small Boutique agency is producing on a weekly basis.

It's an awful.

Lot we've had her radio day this morning that means we've done 15/16 interviews and couple of nationals and the rest across the regional network and cons of a quiet week and what product is that all you don't need to say the name of the company that is to say that this was a household name lost my cats are consumer-based would have heard of them and insurance company in fact and quite a lot radio campaigns for them and we do it on a regular basis, but do not this is.

Making mainstream network news is it's sometimes it does I mean this was radio data must promote our stories on television to an online to this was a radio day, and we would say typically we would guarantee what we're going to do so will say and minimum of 10 to 12 opportunities probably 1 to 2 of them will be national son and they will be do you like us to is the BBC lights off Tories sure I'm not just interested to know to what extent you think you're actually I mean I completely on some that you're providing content for either less mainstream up probably not hard news.

I think when people get when journalists get a little bit uncomfortable with PR it's when there's a feeling that they are influencing the main news agenda to what extent do you think they sometimes? I think we are creating the news and weed.

We do it in in different ways the most straightforward simple way.

I think it is when we've got a research story.

And sometimes when that you really mean a pole that is that right the idea that you suddenly we wish we had a new poll like that suggest that we all love drinking different levels of every sites.

You know how many times people have been burgled.

What's the worst area in the country for four burglaries and those make good regional stories.

Don't know because you can compare One region with another and grown-ups and see where would they appear on mainstream to say television it would be maybe breakfast TV yes.

We would always say that the earlier in the day the better the chance for appeal story which is why we would always embargo or stories to a minute past midnight on one of the day of the week.

We're doing the story so that we know that the likes of Sky rate.

If it was a radio story that sky Sky News radio with pick that up in time for the bullet in a lot of that is because perhaps their little bit more stretched overnight and they're more likely to pick up a PR stories that right.

It's a bit only just left competition with the use them.

This Is the Day evolves and you know it if you look at Wilf example BBC One by the time you get to News at Ten music tennis is full of a politics story of business story of a foreign story it's more difficult I received APR generated content to compete with that level of you as well as in the morning.

It's a bit easier Hollywood you agree with that.

I see I see nothing wrong in what parents talking about Janus have always worked with peers who produced information facts that fuel our stories.

I think where it really worries me these days is as you see less and less investment in journalism.

Dennis has have left time to kick the tires on those stories and become warm or relying on their PR produced information and where I think that's most wearing is actually a local level where local news is so degraded AnnaSophia journalist does press releases going straight in the paper and that has crossed the line for me.

I think getting information from piazza genus is all.

Helpful but as long as you have the time to test it test the methodology behind van the Motives as well.

We would argue that the journalists are sometimes a little bit lazy and we feel that our coverage it can be so good because we put everything on a plate for aid unless we said his the story his the local case study his the local spokesperson.

Where was actually a journalist could go off and get some of that themselves, but we find if we provide it all.

It's it's more likely to be a Garrett so I think it is a minute lazy.

I'd call it because you're talking about provider things on a plate which is a wonderful thing to do and make life easier for journalists in everything that any professional is doing they're trying to make life easy for their customer and they are case our customers a journalist, but it also think there is a role to as often with former journalist to bring journalism, which has not been seen into the domain of a practice in German

Help them to choose to if I'm not changing the news agenda.

I'm not being good at what I'm doing.

I'm looking out for stories, which nobody else would have seen and being very pugnacious about going after that so for example.

There is a vote in Parliament going on 700 million pounds is a stick on the timing of that vote in Parliament my clients for some strange reason care about the idea of losing 700 million pounds on another matter.

I've got a dog have been causing grief ever dogs and cats with poor of Michael Gove he's been forced to change a policy of the government are in terms of electronic collars for cats and dogs whether they're appropriate or not.

That's something which my clients said go try and change this and I brought the good arguments to bear and then you got a front page during the times of the result so I think the job is to be joined up and to push even harder than simply making life easier for journalists.

You know healthy eating for the genus as well to test their stories if you've got a really solid basis and as a journey.

She can always tell the difference between a PR who knows what they're talking about on one who doesn't like to come on to talk in a little bit of white PR Tactics Alan Edwards there are a number of Tactics PR people used to get their clients noticed and to get journalist to write about them.

You've had a few publicity stunts in the past had work today, but tell me about some of the most successful ones with a golden era, publicity stunts was really the 60s and 70s when people would go along Oxford Street with elephants and get arrested and photographs.

I had a punk group that was working with cool Generation X and we were just really bunch of kids and we wanted to get some publicity and we thought let's have we make it seem big and glamorous.

So what we did was we got the £1.30 tube out to the airport.

We went to Terminal 4 and we mocked up this arrival back from this amazing American tour so I had the guys Tony billiard came out of the airport.

Photographer captured by then fed the story out to the music papers and it was Genix return from conquering America dramatic headlining tour and it is sort of up them in the pump was going back to something Polly said you seeing those days free social media it it was actually quite hard to check what happened in America without being so it just went in unchecked, but as I say what Polly was saying there it is different now.

Of course there are so many journeys to check stories.

I mean I remember actually in that you'd have to report people Chekhov story did this scuffle happening a pub or didn't it or whatever course now you've got a different kind of challenge that the questions are coming you very very fast.

You've got 5 minutes to maybe response 20 minutes max your client might not be around you've got to think on your feet so that's entirely different so I actually think the job is probably in some ways the hottest it's ever been at the shopping on the other hand it's the most exciting.

A bit of a golden hopr because you can get your message and we are ultimately his peers with storytellers, so you can create a story crafting have it round the Globe within 5 minutes Ian Gregory you often deal with controversial clients.

I mentioned a fracking and e-cigarettes on your website.

You say firstly we ensure the survival of businesses when powerful forces want to use regulations to ban that my mum's quoting year secondly we protect reputations from journalists who would casually destroy them.

Would you do that in terms of protecting reputation zo-1 classic case was with some scientists who had been defined by The Times newspaper and allegedly defend what they could have no case taken the end of what we had was that they were said to have been enjoying Entertainment by The Big tobacco companies and it was hugely difficult for the reputations.

He's a very established Seasons professors should be.

Academia for 30 years or so and once you have an imbalance of power hear you've got a big national news organisation and individuals who find it very difficult to fight back against sat in this case the tactic was to go to a friendly libel lawyer ask them for a peppercorn rate to write a letter to the the times in this case and say got the story wrong.

I then took that letter to the Guardian newspaper and said look hear some scientists have had a lawyer to Sue the Times the Guardian not particularly loving the Times newspaper said thank you very much published the story of saying scientists are lawyer to Sue the times.

I then went to the lawyers of the times and said this story seems to be unraveling on this occasion.

You seem to have made a mistake the times to the credit for a quick look knowledge that they accepted not just a small little clarification, but the a word the apology word and a scripted apology that I then went to back to the Guardian

And said look here the times has apologized and the Guardian Dooley wrote another story saying x forced to apologise to scientists and see if the combined effect of that was that reputation for restored because one day problems we have is it because the news business is quite a femoral the damage is done is gone out of the door.

The caravan has moved on and if you're trying to restore reputation as you need to do it quickly do pulley playing one paper off against the other is a strategy that you've seen before that I've not heard it's very succinctly actually I'm not sure how many people know that that happens you actually thought you went home and got that apology how many conversations did it get? What was the tone of that conversation? Was it that easy but I'm not always fruit.

But yet that there is sometimes it and I need to be a quite firm in something I didn't get on it and if there is anything wrong the wrong and a good news organisation will accept it made a mistake and will move quickly on it and credit to the times of medication that they move very quickly I want to come onto another area night and which is sponsored content we did mention of the Year the very start of the show and I suppose it's the most visible example of the matching at the moment of pr.

And journalism pulley.

Can you just tell us how it worked on huffpost UK because you had sponsored content that was a really critical part of our Revenue and everyone knows when he's really difficult in journalism at the moment.

Honestly if I had the choice not to do it.

I wouldn't do it you know but that's the state of the industry at the moment my approach to it was to make sure it was as on round as possible and sometimes that men working more closely with the client because if it look differently off.

Differently to have posted journalism it compromised it and then the second thing was really important was complete transparency with the readers so the readers knew what was sponsored content.

What wasn't the level of involvement of a client in that I just need to do to be completely transparent.

I think there's other parts of the industry that are less transparent now.

I think a lot of brands and our cutting out the media tool together in setting up their in-house content hubs that are going direct to readers through social media.

I think that's creating a lot of content pollution in the digital space where you can't see the difference between journalism and brand produced stuff content and that's what worries me more.

I wonder you know when we talk about for example at somewhere like that have posted if you've got sponsored content and for example stay at a supermarket does that then compromise your journalism if you hear that there is a great story that would be very detrimental to that supermarket menu.

Just have that you need those sponsors because it's a great source of revenue.

I would never ever work anywhere that shied away from a story because of its commercial relationship adamant that you would lose that sponsored that would be compromising and that do you know these days more than anything your reader's trusting you is your most valuable asset that's more valuable than anyone client and I would never compromise on any of national workforce on the other side of the political spectrum perdido now.

I've started to take some sponsored articles in that purely because some of the issues I deal with have news events which are associated with the government announcement and guido Fawkes is the best red website in Westminster among MPs as well.

Take that to get messages into the political structure of society as a supplement to the new stories which will fit in better with new Cycles

Think of when they hear about PR as being involved in a particularly in the tabloid press and Allen Edwards at on your website.

It says God truly are no money when a crisis flares up and Allan grey reputation as one who could put out such blazers give us an example of an affair what you've done when something has gone wrong for a for one of your clients where we had a spectacular 1 with Jerry Hall who was accused of smuggling drugs into Barbados and it was a completely ridiculous for school case who is a box massive box of marijuana found on the Year the luggage rack with her name on it and so they Julia rest of the pudding in the cells and my job was to take the media out there to try and discredit this story.

See you decided on that strategy.

Did you to take them out there? You are kind of decided itself, but yes, I guess I did looking back on it the idea was to make it as much of a carry on fast as possible.

It wasn't too hard.

It was January there was no shortage of taker.

In the media for a trip to Barbados 1987 we got out there and if she's beautiful old turn the court was in place called Worthing and it was very colonial it was a sort of fan whirring Oak panelled judge was 100 years old the court was only open 3 mornings a week.

So that may be spent most time on the beach drinking red Stripe and watching cricket, but we finally got into the courtroom and it was it was kind of a Ludacris case and this guy was always banging his hammer.

I'm ever one pointed band is how many said bring me the exhibit and this poor old chap staggered up in car key with this massive box of grass bits and pieces falling out on the floor journeys leaning over and putting handfuls and their pocket the order of the judges had an older older than the cost of the press were loving this so we're having all these so the headlines Jerry Hall glamorous.

Cherry incarcerated Angel Island it's a disgrace and the reporting we've got so out of hand the judge stop the proceedings and he said it's absolutely.

I'm not going to have this prejudicial reporting anymore.

Otherwise the case is going to be stopped.

So you're not get carried on like this and in the end course the case a bit like the box for the Mariana collapsed and it was all over and Jerry was released little been a mistake and Mick Jagger who was her partner.

I think to quote Baz bamigboye the eminent Theatre critics said well.

It was jolly good because Mick ended up looking like the sudden Knight and shining armour and everybody one tabloids got a great story and then my question is did you write Jerry's name on the box makaveli? Can you offer Media training to your clients? There are times when they don't want their stories to appear in the news? What do you suggest to them if they are for example doorsteps.

What is the best way to deal with it when you don't want to to get that but you don't want any PR we would say if you were if your doorstep then there's others their camera that you have to.

Turn and spacer and the worst thing to do and I have doorstep people as as as a journalist particularly at ITN live Constantinos house, you know you find the address of you to turn up and knock on the door and even if they don't answer the door.

You make a drama out of that footage just with the hands go it going to the door knock at certain Media training.

I would say that it looks worse on camera if you just gotta laugh and it looks much better if you actually stop standstill face the journalist say something planned, so they can't say it's been a no comment because that's that's also really bad, but you say something planned you know I couldn't possibly talk about this and you know this is a hand my lawyers or no.

This is police matter.

I can't comment that you have at least said something and then you're taking control as well and the lot about it particularly on television.

Is is is about what what sort of image ru presenting on camera and if your scuttling off and you are you running away?

How to remember some naughty cameraman who would do things like their hand on the key on the on the Keyhole David aurora card or two then there's a bit of a scuffle and then the camera gets a little bit jolted and that looks fantastic fantastic television isn't it but that's exactly how you would not want to be it's not that many photographers.

We might actually call at the papers in the Editors and say look how about we do a little photo call if everyone goes away and leaves everyone at alone for the day and that that can work again the journalist at least something it might not be exactly what they want but the little titbits of the tapping of bringing everyone a cup of tea, and I'm always surprised at how many jealous take the cup of tea and makes them look unemployed are there in the game of balance against the journalists in some of the controversial stories the journalist has to show balance in most outlets and if you are give a very tricky quote.

The journalist then it can be difficult for the jealous to cover the story because you giving some very hard a blind quote or something which suggests of the journalist hasn't been fair play.

You keep that quick very very tight indeed and that's all the journalist has got from your server Debate and then the editor of that program looking at the what they've got they've got a kind of difficult crossword clue they have to include it for the reasons for balance and it can then meanie the whole item gets spiked and that's a good outcome for CPCS well, so are you answer the question bu Bridge you have a form of words that comes to your naturally see you change Direction and talk about something else that you really want to talk about to talk to you about your relationship with newspaper editors fingers certainly there.

Are we all know what stories? Where is been at a big story and make very often journalists know about the story but it never makes it into a paper and the thought is that APR somewhere I said look we will give you a

The story of separate story maybe you can get an exclusive with your with a celebrity if you don't run a story that's perhaps their damaging to their reputation.

Is that a relationship that you've had with the Editors in showbiz correspondent honest.

I can't remember that for ages and ages and ages.

I'm sure maybe I happens occasion in the political world, but my experience most editors a really decent straightforward people they just wanted they want an answer and they want to get onto the next thing so you might find that a story could be softened or contextualized, but I I don't think that there's that many disappearing stories in this day in age because of the problem because of social media.

You couldn't keep a cap on it now anyway would come out anyway, so it's not on anyone's interest we have to be I think everybody has been lot more transparent that was the old the old days, so where is all this heading? I'd like to attend this program by asking that Polly Polly Curtis journalism and PR we've talked before on this programme about the fact that there's actually no IR University

Course that that marries the to do you worry about that, but essentially they may become the same thing it's harder to differentiate particularly when you can study both definitely I heard someone from the NCT Jade the organisation that trains journalism describe them as interchangeable the other day that the skills are the same these things are essentially the same kind of jobs and they're not that my experience in both shows that while the skills are transferable the Motives of very very different and really vitally important to upholding trust in independent media and so I think kind of Keeping a very clearly that the readers understand is more and more important these days current George Orwell said to her that journalism is printing something that somebody else doesn't want to be printed and everything else is just pillado not the same thing although well.

Very definitely an overlap and going back to Polis point of Newsroom speeding under the source to I think that's the wrong I was.

Call them opportunities for PR to fill in some of the the gaps right now.

I think they're there are some programs and some broadcasters who keep their head higher than than others but where does it go in the future right? I think the to do become more and more emerged but I spoke to BBC's head of newsgathering today.

Who did say that they very very rarely use an EPR footage and it would have to be in very good reason for hurt Alan know that celebrities and business companies can engage directly with their intended audience and social media has that changed and will it change in the future your role the role of pr.

It means it's long as you got less controlled you got a think faster.

We go back to your point.

I'm in Isle of journalism, and I love journalist.

Send me let's remember the greatest Briton of all time Winston Churchill was a reporter for the news of the world are not well known fact and he was reporting the bottle wall ties.

I think jonah's and will flourish.

Am I think it's maybe had a challenging time of social media in the last couple of years, but I think there's lots of new innovative ways of handling it.

Look at the New York Times doing a sort of part Story 3 part pay for it.

I think the two things will absolutely remain separate.

They're both going to exist and coexist in different ways.

I'm sure and you said that storytelling is the most importantly then suddenly APR are you telling people stories on on social media? How many celebrities control their own Twitter account, storytelling and and that's in the literal sense, so we'll look at the situation will look at project will hopefully pluck out the most interesting angles.

It's not a one-size-fits-all.

We will then take that two different areas of the media.

It might be of interest that's the skill of real PR I think rather than just pushing stuff out and should celebrities be doing it for themselves are how many celebrities controller on Twitter accounts and how many have PR doing it for them?

I think it says your preference.

I mean I think it's a fair mix you know because if you're putting out pictures on Instagram about where you were touring around the world.

That's great that then there's a sort of visibility but if you're trying to get over a new charity that you're involved with all your trying to sell tickets for shower something.

I think you need PR so I think that's the skill is knitting it all together and where do you CPR going in the future? Is it the dark heart that's going to remain is it storytelling? I think the problem is that the story is being dominated by the outrage amplifier that it's social media and with people shouting ever louder through social media the Need Is for correctives especially in the public policymaking arena.

Where is shoes get very walked by that Twitter live Debate and what I would love to be doing is to be one of the voices reasoning that coming and putting on other side of the Debate which is well sourced and credible and helps my

Plants get hurt by a journalist and by policymakers well, it sounds like KPR has got a flourishing future from that debate and thank you very much indeed to my guest today Polly Curtis Allen Edwards Ian Gregory and Karen Haines and if your New Year's resolution is to Never Miss another Media showplan, why wouldn't it? Be you can find this and every episode on BBC sounds?


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