PR Practitioners Should Plan For The Next Newsroom Today

In surveys with readers of the San Jose Mercury News, Chris O’Brien, reporter and innovator on the issue of news in the US, presented four major findings about how people get information:

    • Google
    • Other people are a major resource of information
    • Conversations
      • Choice

There are 5 main theme of the Next generation of the newsroom a project to build the next generation newsroom being conducted at Duke University

1. Integrated – Newsrooms must be fully integrated across blogs and multimedia. It should embrace all platforms. Adapt a consumption model where readers can become so intrigued by the site that they lose track of time as they are immersed in the information.

2. Innovation – The newsroom must be a center for innovation; the 150 year old model was mostly static. We are now in an era of constant change.

3. Collaborative – there must be interactions with other groups outside of your own comfort zone. Cross pollination is a good thing in a new newsroom to expand knowledge and create areas where they will meet each other.

4. Adaptable – Allow for flexibility in assignments, even movable furniture that can be quickly reconfigured to meet a project need.

5. Transparency – Newsrooms need to be open to the community, creating the ability for a dialogue. Changing from a one way medium to a two way organ of information.

New jobs in journalism according to O’Brien

  1. Programmer journalists
  2. Media Conductors
  3. Backpack Journalists
  4. Cybrarian
  5. Community Managers

This is a summary of a presentation given at the NewComm Forum produced by the Society for New Communications Research. I agree and submit that all media is now multimedia. That means companies and PR firms need to determine what other resources are appropriate for specific releases. For example, consider audio soundbites or videos of relevant visual elements that enhance the story. These can be set up on a news page at the company’s website or posted on a unique landing page, all trackable. This is a start toward what will be a new type of news release called the social media release. A topic for another post.

Getting Most From Brand Journalism

Brand Journalism can help a company escape the shackles of typical marketing by being a part of the bigger picture. Finding ways to talk about the issues surrounding an industry that a company serves is a way to showcase expertise without constantly selling. It is a way to develop a digital library of information that can be customized for a variety of uses beyond the initial brand journalism objectives, including

Brand Journalism

  • News releases
  • Marketing
  • Sales presentations
  • Email

The key elements to brand journalism include:

  • Independent writing and content development
  • Objective discussion of issues
  • Candid conversation of choices surrounding an issue

Here are some example of brand journalism example of brand journalism

The Social Mind Of A Corporate Marketer

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall of a corporate meeting on social media? Many of the readers of this blog and listeners of the Marketing Edge podcast have been in those sessions where ideas are evaluated about whether to have a company blog, launch a podcast series or include bloggers in the media relations strategy.

Christopher Barger is a social media strategist and has been in the largest of corporations, IBM and GM, where those conversations and decisions take place. The beauty of Barger is his ability to see and articulate a legitimate objection from a personal management fear. Both are essential to understand and address in a corporate environment in order to make progress. It is part of the mutual respect in a team that allows that team to try new tactics, be innovative and, most importantly, learn.

The Social Mind Of A Corporate Marketer

In this podcast, Barger and I discuss his experience inside marketing and management groups deciding on social media tactics. He explains the difference and growth social media has had in General Motors product launches.

Some of GM’s efforts on the Web:

We highlight how marketing is changing from a predictable process to a participatory sport in which everyone becomes smarter. Yes, we even tackle the dreaded ROI of social media. Hmmmm, what’s the ROI of this blog post? Gee, will someone click on “Contact Us” and hire us and therefore I can say that the 2 hours I spent thinking through the conversation with Barger, recording it, editing it, and posting it will generate a dollar return?

Silly isn’t it? Right, it is, because as you’ll hear, the conversation was an enjoyable learning experience. It continues to build relationships, one with Barger and the other with Marketing Edge listeners, so the ROI is part of a much larger element of relationship and brand management.

To translate that to your company, it goes something like this: Who is this company? What type of people do they wish to associate with and how can the company, and its employees, add value to the lives of those with whom they associate?

As you hear in Barger’s description of working with specific communities in social media, such as parents and car enthusiasts, it’s all about being part of their passion and very little about selling them a car. The rewards to the company, however, are tangible. The value to the individual employees in GM that are participating is gratifying.

I’ll continue to say it, and the more I have conversations like this one with Barger, the more I believe it: Social media is a movement, not a market. This does not mean commerce is not supported by social media; it means that commerce is a result of adding value to the group, not meeting a quota tied to a logic that has no connection to that community.

We thank Chris for his insight and invite you to share your own thoughts below.

Retailer Best Buy internal social network gives employees voice and management insights

Retailer Best Buy internal sociaGary Koelling and Steve Bendt were Best Buy advertising guys in search of better information about the customer experience. Their first stop was the blue shirt sales associates on the floor of Best Buy stores who interact with customers everyday.

In their quest they developed an internal communications platform that generated thousands of conversations across the company. The result, more information, more issues, more solutions, more ideas, more impact — and a corporate culture that is beginning to appreciate that buy-in brings out the best in employees.

I visited Best Buy to interview Gary and Steve who are now senior managers for social technology based on the success of their 18 month experiment. They acknowledge that their focus on listening to the type of environment the employees wanted was essential for the employees participation. Without that they knew they would have nothing.

The images in this post are from Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation social network. Fun and interesting. Certainly designed to set a certain mood and create a welcoming atmosphere. They were inspired by Blue Shirt Nation users as Steve and Gary listened to their thoughts about making the site user-friendly.

Here’s my take on what they found as essential elements to a successful corporate social network platform.

  1. Bottom up process to let users of the site help build the platform
  2. Management that is willing to discover what their employees are capable of innovating
  3. A willingness to act on the good ideas hashed out in the conversation of the group
  4. Listen all the time to the conversations inspired by the users.

On a technology note, Blue Shirt Nation was built with the open source code Drupal

I will have more on this topic at a presentation I’m giving at the Society for New Communications Research NewComm Forum April 22-25, in Sonoma County, CA – A host of great speakers including Shel Holtz, Paul Gillin, and Joseph Jaffe among others.

Get in on the January book giveaway the New Influencers by emailing me at and in the subject line put New Influencers. Good luck the drawing is January 31.