Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BBC Business gets pulled up


This weekend the FT ran an item on the BBC’s business news coverage. It followed a report by the BBC Trust into the failings of the networks business news. Business news has always been a bit of a Cinderella on the BBC, although with the exclusion of the dedicated business news networks (like CNBC and Bloomburg) there is the impression that none of them take it all that seriously.

I undertook a quantitative study a couple of years back for one of the BBC’s news channel competitors and my recollections are that the BBC’s news coverage was comparative in length, although tended towards a greater use of repeated items.

If I have a current frustration it is the lack of macro-economic coverage on current networks. Possibly this reflects an increasing interest on my part however I am of the opinion that there are some major shifts in the economic structure of the world (like China), pressures on prices and net impact on inflation. These for me are the important issues particularly if accompanied by comment from some of the many insightful commentators working in association with City of London.

One of these structural changes is the shift in economic power towards the City of London over the past couple of years. Has the BBC mirrored this shift? I think not, and has it failed to reflect the professional interests of the increasing number of people involved in this sector?… I think it has.

As an aside, I concur with the reports highlighting the sycophantic interview with Bill Gates. He was talking about the launch of Vista (and not about his charity work) and deserved to the tackled on issues like the rise of Google, Microsoft’s depressed share price and the organisations future strategy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Big Brother – give us your views….


Yesterday morning I had a call out the blue from someone at Channel 5 (UK) News asking if I would comment on ‘the Big Brother story’. My RSS feeds had not mentioned anything so in an attempt to sound in touch I blurted ‘so they have pulled the plug on them…?” Frankly, I was ill prepared and it must have shown. The understanding lady from Channel 5 News said she had looked at our corporate site and was not sure if it was our thing. (Defeated) I kinda’ agreed and said I would have a chat with some people in the PR industry and get someone to call her with a suitably informed comment.

Then last night I watched a commentator on BBC News 24 on the subject making all sorts of curious deductions on the Ofcom ruling (even suggesting at one point it was an IFA ruling); and it all got me to be thinking that I should have persisted and volunteered more forcefully. I even got to queue up some soundbites: ‘when you live by the sword, you must die by it’…..‘wasn’t this what Big Brother has been trying to engineer all these years...?’ On reflection, possibly fate dealt me a fortuitous hand.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PR: Nothing but blue skies?


A really interesting essay has been posted on the PR2.0Universe website written by John Holmes of the Holmes Report regarding how PR missed its chance in the first internet revolution and the challenges which lie ahead if it is to extend its influence against the wave of consumer generated comment.

It includes some excellent discussion on identifying key online influencers, the death of the conventional press release, the types of people PR should be employing, salaries and competition from other disciplines.

It also looks at measurement and suggests a market research approach among stakeholders. It would have been interesting if this had been extended to the role of media monitoring, application, analysis and what you can hope to learn from it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Social media has the casting vote


The BBC, John Sweeney / Church of Scientology story is assuming a level of interest largely as a result of various clips being posted by the relevant proponents on YouTube. For the record you can see the clip here. A kinda bazaar place for a PR battle, particularly when it is free for anyone to post a comment under the clip.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Really interesting podcast

Anyone involved in comms and technology can't help but be interested in the Hobson and Holtz report, if you are not already aware.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blogging and the CIPR Diploma


I think the submission day for the latest CIPR Diploma CRT essays was either yesterday or today and I must admit that being featured in one of the questions has resulted in a number of phone calls and emails. I have tried to help out and direct people to the relevant sources although it now occurs that I have missed a trick by not posting comments on this blog for use by more of the students.

Having been in exactly the same situation of doing the Diploma only last year it is quite strange to be involved in it from this angle and had I been a little less busy it would have been fun to have engaged in the discussion more and to have circulated the views a little further via the blog. We learn from our mistakes and only hope it will make us better prepared next time!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Creativity - key to successful PR


Last week I was at a business seminar hosted by Businesslink in which the famous management science guru Edward de Bono talked about creative thinking. It is easy to say the word but often hellishly difficult to act out. One of his opening points was that adaptation is poorer than reinvention. The ‘line of least resistance’ is the often adopted course based on adaptation rather than the more testing line of invention.

Creativity is key to PR. I recently heard a talk on Online PR at the CIPR in which the apparent threats were outlined, particularly from consumer generated content, or members of the public talking online about your brand. The discussion ranged from deep mistrust and concern for the loss of control of the brand message, through to the embracing of the medium as a god-sent opportunity to engage with those willing to ask.

While this content often ‘competes’ with PR content there was the view that PR had two essential star cards, being creativity and relationships.

Relationships are made and the reassuring thing from Edward de Bono is that creativity is not something one is born or not born with, but can be learnt.