New ways to engage with Media

Journalists had the power to change public opinion. Cut to today… it has evolved into a different paradigm. More ways have emerged to consume news than ever before. And, as such, we’ve seen the emergence of different evolved strains of journalism.

Recalling her break from media Chitra Narayanan, Editorial Consultant with Hindu Businessline remembered that after she came back, she discovered how times had changed! “Doing a story had changed and today, we have the PR involved. We cannot do without the PR business today,” she said, as she discussed “New ways to engage with media” at #RTQUORUM.

And what really had changed? A whole lot. The types of media, content, rules of engagement, access to information [information overload], pressures, deadlines & technology. “In fact, mindsets have changed”, she exclaimed.

Journalism certainly has changed hugely and she remembered how they were always on the field, working out meetings and overseeing things personally, before actually writing. Today, you can do everything on your phone and research on the Internet. You compete with social media, bloggers and influencers who are skilled in videos. On the other hand, she revealed how they used to struggle to get news, and find interesting features. Now there is the PR fraternity inundating you with pitch after pitch. And, it’s a  struggle to choose which one to follow. She pointed out – “In terms of editing and packaging stories, I think we spent far more time on captions, headlines and so on…in the old days – now I don’t see that same quality!”

Internet media poses a challenge, she felt but print in India will always stay, as its credibility is much higher. However, print has to find different, innovative angles (AI is coming to the help here).

Stating some alarming statistics, she shared that 4 million hours of content – podcasts, multimedia, blogs etc are being put out everyday! “Earlier we had the PR wall, but today, everything is on the internet”.

What is the answer? Today there is only one way – to “build trust”. Referring to the Edelman Trust Barometer, which is an exemplary mode of research she pointed out – “trust is the most important currency”. And, according to the 2023 Barometer, journalists are the least trusted today.

And, how do you build trust? Through honesty & transparency, investing in long-term relationships, communicating effectively without ambiguity, honouring a commitment, doing your homework well, respecting boundaries, understanding generational differences.

What are the things to avoid? Spray and pray, ghosting after chasing, over familiarity, wrong targeting, manipulation.

And eventually, what does a good journalist really look for? Just a good story! But don’t lose sight of the fact that “media is the message”.

In conversation with Sandeep Rao, when she was asked what are three ways how people can be educated to engage with media?  Pat came her answer – “Just one way, do immersions with the media & educate your own organisation”.

Naming and shaming journalists is very bad, was her parting shot.  And her sincere advice was – “Mentoring comes in here – mentor your youngsters!”

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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