Vancouver PR Agency

We are big fans of David Henderson. An award-winning former journalist, Henderson tells it like it is and he doesn’t pull any punches. In many ways, he reminds me of some of the diehard news journalists I have had the pleasure and privilege to work with when I was at Maclean’s. Getting the story was what they lived for; covering breaking news and explaining what was happening and why to our readers was their reason for being. And they didn’t hold back when they had something to say – like Henderson.

His recent blog post talks about what news media is like today, and what that means for the news we see and read as consumers. That made me think about how much journalism and the news that comes into our homes each day has evolved over the past two decades. I know that magazine journalism has changed since I worked at Maclean’s. It had to. The morning and evening news has changed too, and it continues to change.

I have a television in my office. Not only does it make me really popular during events like the Olympics, but it also allows me to have different news channels playing throughout the day. I don’t sit there and stare at the TV. Sometimes the sound is off so I can concentrate (although I grew up at Maclean’s, so I can work pretty much in any busy, noisy, stressy environment). I get a taste of several news and talk shows each day and there are times when something catches my interest and I think: “Well, that’s changed.”

As a communicator this is important on several levels. How we pitch media has changed and how people hear or take in information has changed as well. Now, I am not saying that your daily newspaper or evening news should be the standard by which you communicate. I’m saying that it is important to review all media forms – from the newspaper to the nightly news to community papers to cable network talk shows to blogs, Facebook and Twitter – with a view of looking at the language being used, the topics being covered and the amount of time or space allotted to them. Check the newspaper comments online and see what elements are creating discussion among the readers; follow the nightly anchor’s Twitter feed and see what people are saying about the broadcast. Find out what resonates and why. Understand how information is being communicated today – don’t assume it’s the same way as yesterday. Identify the realities of the situation so you know what is and isn’t an appropriate pitch to media currently. If there are situations like Henderson points out, where the media seem to be ignoring a big story, find an alternative distribution channel for it: your blog, a guest blog post, a video segment or link to the information on social networking sites.

The news media is a lot different than it was even five years ago. Make sure you stay up-to-date with your current affairs.

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Anyone who knows me or has worked with us at AHA knows that we have a commitment to authenticity. Being true to yourself is important. In my opinion, it should extend outwards and should include those times when you have to reach out to a complete stranger on a professional level.

I have written about this before – using those pain in the neck marketing/sales calls that every organization receives. You know the ones… where the person mispronounces your name, then cheerfully asks how your day is going, how you are enjoying the weather (often not realizing you are thousands of miles and several time zones away from them and often have different weather) and tries to get you to buy, donate or support something that has no relevance in your life or business. Those unsolicited calls (and sometimes visits to the office) are a pet peeve of mine.

This morning, I woke up in a bad mood. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. As I sat down to drink my coffee and embrace my crankiness for exactly the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, I came across a great piece by Barb Sawyers on

The lesson of the day is don’t pretend you know me, don’t make assumptions and don’t act all buddy-buddy when we’re not. And – if you want money from me, don’t misrepresent it by trying the old bait and switch. We’re on to you. And we don’t like it.

Now, I don’t know Ms. Sawyers, but I have a feeling that she and I would get along just fine. She doesn’t appear too impressed with those phony baloney, pretender, feels like you want to trick me calls either. And her astute (and funny) blog post was just what I needed to make me snicker and get out of my cranky pants.

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There are times when I feel really, really, really busy – and it can feel overwhelming. The fact is, I like to be busy. I work better when AHA is busy and I have more fun when I have many things on my list to get done – in both my professional and personal life. Some days, however, it feels a little less exciting and a little more pressured and overwhelming. It’s not necessarily in response to anything except the conversation that runs through my brain.

I came across a fabulous blog post on today that spoke to my anxiety and concern. It was like the writer knew how I was feeling and was speaking directly to me. Believe me, it’s worth a read. Especially in these sunny, beautiful days of summer.

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Over the weekend, I had dinner with friends and the talk turned to the ethics of public relations. Their son is in grade 10 and he wants to be a journalist, so we often have discussions about public relations, journalism and the shift that both fields are going through right now. We got onto the topic of the importance of ethics in a person’s life. Then it turned to what happens when an organization has an issue – how they are able to be ethical and manage their reputation.

The values of an organization and the ethics of the senior team are key drivers in how the organization does business. Having solid values and ethics doesn’t mean that they will never face an issue or a crisis, but it does mean that they will likely deal with it in a respectful, productive, transparent manner. As a communicator, our role is to communicate internally and externally about what is being done. Often, we are brought into the planning because we can provide the perspective of stakeholders and ask the tough questions that need to be asked.

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In the past week, we have had several conversations with clients about social media and what they could be doing or doing differently in this area. It’s always interesting to have these types of discussions and to take a good, hard look at what is being done, what needs to be done and what could be done differently.

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