ITL #531   Restoring trust and inspiring engagement: the role of PR in reshaping media

11 months, 4 weeks ago

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PR can serve as a vital catalyst for change by offering solution-based stories that inspire and mobilize individuals. By Laura Evans Manatos.



In an age characterized by skepticism and disengagement from traditional media, public relations professionals have an opportunity to play an important role in helping to change the state of media. With the decline of public trust and interest in media, PR can serve as a vital catalyst for change.

 

By providing quality content, simplifying complex narratives, and maximizing coverage opportunities, PR professionals can be part of the solution by reshaping story offerings, elevating the voices of organizations that otherwise struggle to market themselves and tell their own stories, and offering solution-based stories.

 

A loss of trust and interest in media

Over the past decade, more media outlets have inundated consumers with an increasing barrage of negative and sensational news stories. While resources have been on the decline in newsrooms, some newsrooms look to cover what’s easy: if it bleeds it leads, more click bait more often, the expansion of ‘opinion journalism’ (an oxymoron).

 

All of it contributes to the gradual erosion of public trust and a sense of apathy among audiences. Many people have chosen to disengage from the news altogether, feeling overwhelmed by the constant focus on problems without sufficient emphasis on potential solutions.

 

The need for change and inspiration

The role of news media is not only to inform but also to inspire and mobilize individuals towards positive action – to highlight the whole story about what’s happening in communities across America. We can talk about crime – but let’s also talk about the organizations beating the streets working to fix it. 

 

We must show those stories. There are disparities in healthcare – but let’s also talk about the changemakers working to create equity. Audiences are hungry for stories that highlight organizations, changemakers, and disruptors who are making a difference in their communities. They desire content that goes beyond passive observation and motivates them to become part of the solution.

 

This is where PR professionals have an opportunity. They can play a pivotal role in helping reshape news content by elevating the voices of these inspiring individuals and organizations, ultimately offering viewers a reason to re-engage with media. Yes – it requires news organizations to bite on these solutions story pitches – but if it’s a good story, and PR professionals collaborate successfully with media, they have the potential to help change the current state of disengagement.   

 

Maximizing coverage opportunities

Reporters are looking for content and PR professionals possess the expertise to effectively pitch stories and maximize opportunities for coverage. By understanding the needs and constraints of busy reporters, producers, and editors, PR professionals can provide well-crafted narratives that fulfill their requirements.

 

Quality content is key, as it captures attention, generates interest, and establishes credibility. PR professionals can bridge the gap between organizations and the media, helping them tell their stories and ensuring that their efforts and solutions receive the recognition they deserve.

 

Simplify and know your audience

One of the biggest challenges many journalists face is the little amount of time they have. PR professionals can be more successful in their efforts by following some simple rules:

  1. Know who you’re pitching and why the reporter would cover your story.
  2. Simplifying any complex narratives, distilling them into terms that resonate with the journalist’s audience.
  3. Keep pitches brief.
  4. Incorporate a human element whenever possible. WHO does this story impact and why?
  5. Include visuals in your pitches. Show me how your story is a solution, show who this impacts.

 

This approach can help get a reporter’s attention and will increase your chances of getting the coverage you want.

 

Collaboration and authenticity

Building authentic relationships between PR professionals and journalists is essential for this transformation to take place. PR professionals must prioritize transparency, credibility, and collaboration. By fostering genuine connections with reporters and members of the community, they can help make critical connections. And, by understanding the needs of their media friends, PR professionals can establish themselves as trusted sources of information.

 

This collaborative approach allows PR professionals to provide accurate, well-researched content that aligns with the standards of journalistic integrity.

 

A holistic, solutions-based approach

To restore trust and interest in media, a shift is needed towards a more holistic, solutions-based approach to news content. Stemming the tide is a heavy lift and requires collaboration, and PR professionals can help facilitate this transition by actively seeking out and effectively promoting stories that highlight positive initiatives, social impact, and innovative solutions.

 

By showcasing organizations that are actively working to address societal challenges, PR professionals can help lead media to provide consumers with stories of hope and inspiration, encouraging them to believe in the power of collective action. These are the stories that will help restore trust, reignite interest, and empower audiences to become active participants in creating a better future. 

 

 


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The Author

Laura Evans Manatos

Laura Evans Manatos is President & CEO of Laura Evans Media, a woman-owned progressive public relations firm in Washington, D.C. made up of a diverse group of Emmy-award-winning journalists. We work with people and organizations driven by passion and purpose, and we are focused on telling solution-based stories about their impact, reach and the change they are driving around the world.

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