After about five years as a listener, I had the good fortune to be asked to co-host an episode of the podcast “For Immediate Release” with Shel Holtz; I was filling in for regular co-host Neville Hobson, and I hope I represented Voce Nation well. While the show notes are posted at the FIR site, I thought I would use this space to frame further my point of view on the topics discussed.
A lot has been said, written, blogged, and more about the South by Southwest Interactive keynote featuring Twitter’s Ev Williams. Many people complained about the softball questions lobbed by interviewer Umair Haque, or the lack of a substantive announcement from Twitter beyond “@anywhere” (apparently everyone hoped for Titter to drop the “ad platform” bomb).
As for the latter, a company cannot announce something it does not have (or is not ready to unveil). As for the former, it tells me the art of journalism is not dead. While this was a negative example, it points to the need for anyone publishing media to employ journalistic skill. People need to be prepared (know you subject AND your audience), critical (not necessarily confrontational), and substantive in order to create content that makes a difference.
Was the New York Times’ story on mommy bloggers inappropriate? Was the reaction out of proportion? Yes and no on both parts. Anyone who hopes to be covered in media needs to know there will be message disconnects- especially when it comes to headline writing. Those in the media need to know that certain groups and discussions are going to react strongly to any perceived slights. The story, and the reaction, are not out of the bounds of my expectations. You?
An Australian study found that 55% of news stories are sourced by PR (actually, the headline mentioned that the stories were subject to “spin.” Here we go again with the crazy headlines). As Shel points out, this is hardly a new idea. My point of view is that because a story has a PR source, does not mean it does not contain original reporting. Back to compelling content and journalistic integrity, sources must be vetted and viewed critically to make any story worth reading. I really hope this study doesn’t alarm anyone. It’s not news.
It was fun to take part more actively in this podcast after being a long-time community member. I hope to get another opportunity before too long.