Some more interesting stories popped onto our radar yesterday during a brief respite from the B2B PR consultancy mill! To recap, these ‘PR in the press’ posts are discussions around news items that say something to us about our specialist subject of PR. These are from yesterday’s Times so if you don’t have a subscription you might not be able to access the full stories, unless you are still an old fashioned ‘page turner’…
The Thatcher bandwagon
Margaret Thatcher may have cancelled the milk wagon in her time but her death has certainly launched a huge bandwagon. As divisive a figure as she was I question whether many more pages of coverage or air time are needed on the subject (after all, aren’t we meant to look forward in this life?). Its peculiar how someone can be alive but in the background of the news agenda for many years, but then the end of their life sparks new interest and indeed fury. Whether an intentional jump on the PR bandwagon or not, Nigel Farage got the front page slot yesterday with the clever angle that UKIP would not exist if Thatcher had stayed in power two more years and Britain hadn’t signed the Maastricht Treaty creating the EU. If a PR person tried to sell a similar story based on a 20 year old ‘if’ and ‘but’ angle it would probably be spiked after the first sentence!
This week’s teen PR gaffe… I’m a belieber
Justin Bieber may have helped divert the ‘youth of today’ news attention away from Paris Brown this week by his public gaffe which saw him writing in the Anne Frank house guestbook that “hopefully she would have been a belieber.” OK, maybe a harmless mistake and not meant to cause any damage, but doesn’t someone like Bieber – with a pretty big music company PR machine behind him – have training on what to say and write publicly? It may not have been a direct media interview or social media post but a good example of engaging your brain before opening your mouth (or putting pen to paper, finger on send etc…), which let’s face it is a life lesson not just a PR one. At least Paris Brown had the excuse of innocence on her side having been plucked from obscurity into the limelight only to have her past indiscretions as a minor revealed.
Survey of the week
Ah the power of data to create a story. Surveys have to be the most commonly used (and abused) tactics in all branches of media relations. Data itself is not the problem. The issue is surveys that are constructed around an existing story idea and only really there to validate it. We’re not sure if this story about schoolchildren cheating in sport is one of these but one would hope that the page five lead of a national paper had some real validity. Just 1,002 young people were polled about their attitude to and experiences of cheating in sports and parents were asked what they think encourages children to cheat. The story aligns nicely into the recent string of sports cheating allegations but beyond that there is no particular hook. OK, it backs a valid cause so we’ll let if off, but we think the use of data and surveys in stories should be tempered, both by the PR world and the media we feed stories to. There is no real replacement for ‘real data’ that is produced and collected as part of doing business, where the sample is decently significant, the results less engineered to lead to a desired conclusion and PR is the by-product rather than the driver.