Key Advice Blog

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Open data was the focal point of yesterday’s Digital Editors Network (DEN) meeting at North West Vision and Media in Manchester. Some open data mavericks are lobbying  for this to become the rule rather than the exception. With David Cameron and Nick Clegg leading a more open style of collaborative government, the time to push for more open data is here.

Francois Nel, DEN co-convener and director of UCLan’s Journalism Leaders Programme, opened the discussion challenging all to re-think what data means to online communications – particularly for the news industry – and our culture.

Julian Tate, one of the organisers of FutureEverything conference (May 12 -15) in Manchester, is lobbying for the city to become the UK’s first OpenData city. He used Vancouver, Canada’s open city initiative as a benchmark. Take a look at and to get a glimpse of where this may be  heading in the UK.

Paul Bradshaw, onlinejournalismblog and convener of the HelpMeInvestigate project, gave examples of how data management revealed key issues for such stories as the MPs’ expenses fiasco. He said data is the place where journalists and publishers meet with citizens and IT. Think of it as freedom of information without having to fill in a form. Journalism students are exploring this concept, and will bring their new talents to the workplace.  Is corporate media ready?

The Guardian’s information architect Martin Belam and New York’s Propublica reporter Olga Pierce and Jeff Larson highlighted how news gathers working closely with data manipulators can create new interpretations of news and information that are more powerful, more insightful and more inclusive than one-dimensional news gathering. Although, like our current leaders, they may seem like strange bedfellows, such cooperation is thinking outside the box. And, never has there been  a time – economically, socially, politically – when some fresh ideas were desperately needed.

Sweden’s University of Gothenburg Journalism, Media and Communication Ph.D candidate Oscar Westland used a mixed martial arts metaphor to compare the traditional approaches with the new media world. Looking at how print and online news reporting are being driven to change by new and mobile technology, Oscar pointed out the importance of redefining our methods. It appears the answers to the current media problems may not lie in familiar places.

“We need to plan for trial and error,” he said. “This is moving fast.”

Nick Turner DEN co-convener and head of Digital Media for CN Group closed the meeting leading a discussion on where this can go next. DEN will look at what role they can play in taking this to the next level. The next DEN meeting will take place in the autumn.

Mobile information, open data and interactive, geo-based apps may seem an arm’s length from our news and information creation centres, but if our blog and news readers are embracing them, surely we also need to embrace this change with open arms – and minds.

Campaigning is advertising.  And advertising is a key part of public relations.It’s all about customer service – and when it goes wrong, it goes very, very wrong. So how do you make it right?

As we saw with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s awful mic-is-still-on mistake yesterday, which resulted in him insulting a loyal client by calling her a ‘bigot’, silence is golden. The old adage ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ rings true. But, there are golden PR rules, as Social Small Business points out, that we should all try to measure up to.

These are Social Small Business’s four key questions to test your advertising for customer service PR:

They ask:” Does it:

“Peak the interest of the right customers?

Reflect the organization’s values/mission?

Prompt wanted action?

Reassure existing customers?”

They go on to discuss issues like relationship building. It is obvious this one little word, in this over-heard by the world comment by Mr Brown, has had a huge effect on the client, him, his organisation and it’s future. It’s a big price to pay, but PR errors are costly. It’s what makes organisation’s accountable to their clients.

Try this test on your advertising. It’s a very good measuring tool. And don’t forget – turn your mic off or act as if it is always on. That’s a win-win combo.

From Twitter:

@PaulEastonAssoc Who was Browns PR yesterday? ‘Mic Off’ is a golden rule as soon as they come off-camera. Ask Ron Atkinson. #Brown #Bigot

News  releases have stood the test of time, but it is time they go to the next level and meet  social media standards. The marketplace has quickly embraced social media platforms, now marketing and public relations practitioners need to integrate new media, social media sites and key links into their news releases to meet this new demand.

There is no doubt news releases are still the bedrock of marketing activities. They still work – but they can work even better if online and social media links are integrated. Gone are the days of simply providing a contact name, phone number and email address. Here are three key things to integrate into your next news release, so it can ‘evolve’ as Ian Captstick explains on Media Shift into a social media release.

Tip 1: Integrate Live Web Links

Provide live links to your websites –  link to a page that is directly connected to the topic of your news release.

Provide links to all your social media sites – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Include your name – as it may differ from your company’s and not be easy to find in searches.

Don’t forget to offer email links to key contacts.

Tip 2: Stand out with visual links

Embed images or graphics, which link through to your website. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Add a Google Map link – so people can see where you are.

Videos or audio (AudioBoo) podcasts embedded bring your SMR to life. Multi-media messages will stand out from the crowd.

Tip 3: Leave lots of Helpful Links

Provide a link to your site’s RSS and E-news subscription pages. Keep them coming back.

Make sure you have an up-to-date media page or site and provide the link. Keep feeding them.

Add a few helpful links to research findings, feedback or news updates on the release’s topic. Keep them informed.

The best way to succeed at social media release writing is by putting it into your marketing strategy, developing a set of guidelines and creating a social media release template.  Then train your staff. Integration is the key – and you can be a market leader by adopting this now.

I invited Ben Tyson, job searching journalism graduate, to do a guest blog here to help him out. His message is strong and clear – and his strategy is paying off. Best of luck Ben! Kate


I used to have it drummed into me that working hard at school, heading off to university, and gaining a degree, enabled you to walk into the job of your dreams. Employers would fall at the feet of graduates; throwing projects and salaries at them in whichever direction they turned. Reality, however, is an altogether different story.

As the recession deepens, and unemployment rates soar to nearly 3 million; the job market is swamped with graduates – all vying for the same few positions available. That’s the biggest problem most graduates are faced with right now: for every job they apply for, 500 others are doing the same. And when every one of those 500 has a degree, no one stands out from the crowd.

Graduate schemes are a popular way of finding employment after university. Websites such as and advertise these in abundance – each one offering a fast-track route to management, or a high-up, important role. But again, with so many graduates fighting it out for the same position, it’s difficult to get noticed and remembered by the human resource team sifting through the stacks of application forms. The fact is; work experience is counting for a lot more these days, often more so than the degree itself.

I can’t begin to explain the amount of reply’s I have had which claim I “lack experience”. It’s about having that little bit extra on your CV that others don’t have. It makes it all the more difficult, however, to gain experience if no one is offering it! So how do you survive this period of uncertainty? This article on, offers some advice – some relevant, some not. The stand-out point for me is number 7 – Learn.

When a job opportunity does eventually present itself to you, an employer can only be impressed to see that although you haven’t been able to find employment, you have shown your passion and work ethic. Show them you want to be involved in this line of work – even if it is on your own time, and without being paid or thanked.

Another thing I have learned as a valuable importance is the value of having contacts. Keep in touch with old university colleagues. You leave university in exactly the same boat as them – find out what they are doing now. Have they found work? How did they go about finding it? Ask them to keep you updated if anything comes up in their company. Networking, and having plenty of contacts can be a very valuable source. My philosophy has been to keep my eyes and ears open.

I’ve applied for roles I never thought I would see myself doing – but I simply can’t afford to be picky at the moment. If I am offered a job doing something completely different to my degree, I believe it would be foolish not to take it. I always think it is easier to find a job when you are already in one. This doesn’t mean to say I’ll wave goodbye to my dream of being a writer. If I find myself doing something completely different to what I originally intended; I’ll still pursue that dream job I set out for when I set off for university.

And one final utterance: you wait months for a bus to come along, and then two come at once. This will probably be the case for a lot of graduates. You apply for so many jobs, hear nothing for so long, and before you know it – you’ll probably have to choose between two of them. But if one thing is for sure – a job isn’t going to knock on your front door, offering itself to you – you have to go out and find it.

My persistence may well be starting to pay off. Through a series of contacts, emails, and telephone conversations, I have been introduced to the Ulverston Business Alliance, and its Chairman, Paul Jarvis. I have been given the honour of helping to write a few articles and blogs, as well as apply some media to theUBA website. This is precisely what I have been hunting for: work, experience, invaluable contacts, and a professional-looking portfolio to show potential future employers.

With the expertise and guidance of Kate Harrison Whiteside, and the help and assistance of everyone associated with Ulverston Business Alliance, this could well be my first step on the path to success. This is a valuable message that all unemployed graduates should be aware of – that you must persist in chasing roots into your chosen career, and an opportunity could well arise when you least expect it.

Linkedin – New Blog (in its early days)

According to Econsultancy‘s blogger Ben Lamonthe, Facebook, and possibly Twitter, could be the online news publishers of the future. And, we all know with new media, the future always arrives faster than we expect. So what next?

In his blog, Why Facebook could be the next big news publisher, Ben refers to the fact they are a private company making millions from advertising online in a recession, in stark contrast to mainstream media, as the reason he believes the cream will rise to the top.

And, they have the ‘next generation’ of clients – youth – already buying in – something mainstream media have not achieved: and, in some cases, not been concerned with.

Tomorrow I am attending the Digital Editors Network meeting at UCLAN, where the topic is  Pay Walls and Partnerships. Key speakers include Nick Turner, CN groups head of digital content development (; Sarah Hartley, digital editor, The Guardian ; and a panel featuring leaders from Microsoft, Wall Street Journal, Schibsted, World Association of Newspapers.

As the print and new media worlds collide, let’s hope a shining star emerges, for the benefit of news producers and readers alike!

Have organisations not been listening? Social media is a powerful tool. Messages are short and sharp. Tweets are light and travel well. The reports of millions of users are not numbers to take lightly. This week’s gag on The Guardian – prohibiting them from reporting on a company called Trafigura, reports of toxic waste dumping, and the company’s law firm  Carter-Ruck had Twitters turning up the volume. If you hadn’t heard about them before today, all it took was a couple of little #tags in Twitter to make them global and viral.

So the public made public what the policy makers tried to keep private. And, so the Tweeting could be heard above the whispers.  And, the Tweeters told two (thousand?) friends, and they told… Well, you get my message. So where does that leave the Tweeters and the Tweeted abouts?

Econsultancy gives a very good perspective in their ‘Social Media turns toxic avenger for The Guradian (#trafigura)’ article. So now that we know what we were not supposed to, what do those we know about it?

Any company could be on the receiving end of ‘exposure’ on any social media site – from a small business to a global enterprise. It is the new world of PR –  Social Media Relations (SMR). You might want to check out Znetlady’s blog on social media relations top five principles. Or, Econsultancy’s insights on handling ‘feedback’.

I am not sure Ryanair’s online rebuttal to BBC’s Panorama pandemonium is the best way. Bbut it’s head on: 1.1 million free flights – 100,000 for each of their 11 rebuttal points made on their website –  link from @Samshepherd on Twitter.

There are always two sides to every story – well, there used to be.  Now with social media sites – it’s more like a multi-dimensional, 3D view of life. And, aren’t we lucky to live in the age of Twitter where we can see through the news!

The race is on to charge for online media content. In Olympic style moves, Murdoch and crew are jumping into the deep water, pushing and shoving each other to get to the paid-for-content finish line first. Perhaps they should spend a few minutes on shore to consider the following.

People don’t react well to having something for free, then having to suddenly pay for it. The comments on The Guardian story are a good barometer.

Charging for general news flies in the face of a decade-old tradition of free news. Those paying for content, like for, are getting specialised content, and the target market is businesses, which can write off the expense. The average person in the street doesn’t fit this ‘willing-to-pay’ profile.

Digital journalism guru Paul Bradshaw, at, hosts an insightful article on charging for content, pointing to the need to offfer something unique (read: worth paying for). And the tide is turning in how and where people get news.

Many savvy news hounds are turning to Twitter and other ‘person-on-the-street’ platforms to find out news. It’s free, it’s fast, it’s full of helpful links. Can the media sites that are charging, race past the new medias sites that aren’t?

If you are looking to make money from an online venture, don’t forget to go back to basics. Clarify who your audience is. Ask them what they need? Want? Are willing to pay fo  r? Ask your in-house experts. Have a brainstorming session of all the alternatives. And develop a very sustainable strategy.

Dip your toe in the water, before you jump in over your head.


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