Coronavirus PR: ‘Show don't tell’ has never been more important

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Show don't tell. Show don't tell. Show don't tell. 
 
You can't overemphasise it. But there's always plenty of companies who think that in the heat of a crisis they just need to tell us how good they can be at helping us if only we'll listen to their spokesperson.
 
Let's put it in the simplest terms possible. If your client has only asked you to put them forward to be quoted in stories about the changing face of the workforce in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it'd be good to set their expectations to 'stunned mullet'.
 
I've been flat out writing pieces about remote working. Strategies. Technical solutions. Cultural impacts. The works. The biggest thing I need is real stories about what's changing and how people are dealing with the situation. Case studies. Showing the work happening in real-time.
 
Yes, case studies are HARD right now in PR terms. It's too soon. There's no way to control the message or know exactly how well it's working. But that's what I'm asked for more than anything else. Examples of people getting on with work thanks to digital environments and tech hardware that is helping them to do whatever it is they do.
 
I don't want a spokesperson telling me what they're offering or what they're planning to do differently. I want the customers and the clients and the consumers.
 
Zoom has crushed it as a tech company in this crisis, and at first it was largely not by design. One of the biggest examples of a top down experience instead of the recent history of bottom up tech adoption, it moved from business tool to mainstream consumer usage within a matter of weeks. But they did also step forward to offer something real to schools, removing barriers to entry and adoption to help make this moment easier for those who needed video conferencing solved in new ways.
 
Australia's Rode, a great audio hardware company with a worldwide reputation for excellence, announced a donation of millions of dollars worth of podcasting hardware to help NSW schools to produce content for students remotely at a high quality.
 
Instead of this, they could have sent out a press releas talking about how good quality microphones are important in remote work conditions and that their spokesperson is available for comment. Instead they offered value to people who needed a solution, and I don't doubt in coming weeks there might be some interesting case studies of how that hardware has been used.
 
It's been great to see new initiatives from many organisations. Even online hackathons and events going digital, and the stories of how some of these have enabled people who have never been able to participate before to take part. Stories of how remote has become an opportunity, not just a band-aid.
 
Video games have been launching early to take advantage of the downtime. Online games have been offering premium access for 30 days, or boosting in-game progression to attract people to spend time in their games. They're not just saying "games are a great way to relax and distract from bad times we can give you some quotes if you would like." They're just encouraging people to play.
 
As we exit the 'early phase' of this crisis and enter the long middle of whatever is to come, companies should be careful to avoid looking like they're just trying to be visible and focus on what they can do to help. Help customers. Help charities. Help just one person. Do something real. Then maybe there will be a great story to tell about it. Maybe in a few days. Maybe on the other side.
 
Just remember to show us something real.

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Hass Dellal stands down from SBS

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Dr Bulent Hass Dellal is stepping down as the chairman of SBS, effective 2 June 2020.

The exit is in line with the SBS Act which mandates board memberships of no more than ten years. 

Hass Dellal joined the team as director in 2010 but was reappointed for three more years in 2015. He had been acting chairman for a year when the board made his role permanent in 2017. The SBS board has yet to appoint a successor.

“I have had so many proud moments, in particular, during these unprecedented times as SBS has responded to the coronavirus pandemic. The content and services that SBS has been providing to keep so many Australians informed and safe exemplify its vital role and value to our society,” said Hass Dellal of his time in the company. 

“I want to thank everyone at SBS – the board, the executive team, and all of the incredible staff throughout the organisation – for their ongoing support. It has been a privilege to work with people so passionat

See you soon?

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
The baby steps toward seeing each other again in person have begun. For all the difficulties of life in isolation, the reopening process brings its own anxieties. Very small events are likely to be a starting place, given the rules. Though I guess in some cities you could book out a restaurant and have 50 guests at the event very soon? In others you still need to stay home.
 
I've had one company reach out to gauge sentiment ahead of planning anything in June. It was a very nice gesture, and afterward they said things were 50:50 on how comfortable people were feeling about coming to a real world event again. It's the early days, and I think it's a sensible worry that this first wave of reopening cities is when we have the least grasp on whether it will trigger new infections or not.
 
I think the most valuable lesson that can be taken forward relates to the column I wrote as it was all beginning. It would be a terrible shame if anyone tried to shake this off and

News Corp Australia shutters regional papers

By Elliott Richardson and Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NewsCorp Australia has dealt a massive blow to local news coverage after it announced a closing of 14 community newspapers and 22 regional papers, and a transition to digital for a further 100.

The content that some of the soon-to-be-closed titles carry will be reassigned to other mastheads.

The transition and closures come as the latest in a line of local news shutdowns, impacting thousands of journalists.

For many regional towns and cities, locals have long-relied on their local newspaper to keep them informed of important stories and events. 

While some will transfer to digital in order to keep the papers alive, many residents aren’t in the position to pay for a NewsCorp digital subscription, restricting their access to important local news.

Closures and digital transitions will come into effect on 29 June, as outlined below. Metro papers The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Melbourne Herald Sun, and The Adelaide Advertiser will be tweaked to carry more state c

Kiama Community Radio to go live

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The NSW south coast will have a new digital radio station next month, called Kiama Community Radio.

Radioinfo reported that a number of local residents have volunteered to work on the new endeavour, which is aimed at listeners in the Kiama LGA from Minnamurra to as far west as Jamberoo. 

The team spent the past month on crowdfunding efforts, and is planning a one-hour weekly show over its official website, then expanding the content to webcasting and podcasts. Actress Diana McLaren has agreed to host the new show.

“The idea for KCR came about when we were all suddenly told to stay home, and all the ways we usually connect to each other were taken away from us, particularly for the older generations within our community. There’s a lot of global information available right now, but nothing that is specific to our own backyard,” said Graeme Gerashe, a member of the station’s organising team. 

“We are hoping that this new service will reignite ou

Print IT! B2B magazines May 2020

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
IDM
The April-May Information & Data Manager has quite a few insights into government data management, including efforts to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. One story looks at Georges River Council's rapid digital transformation. What had been planned as a phased transition over two years was executed in "around a week" to deal with the situation. Naturally, it's an ongoing process but it's an interesting look at whether ripping the band-aid off might be a better path in future. Another nice local IDM story explores what the Turnbull autobiography leak means for document management in publishing.
 
ECD
The latest Electrical Comms Data takes a close look at security on a number of fronts, leading with a feature by Editor Amy Steed on the rise of smart home devices and the questions around their security. The story talks to Swinburne researchers about the kinds of flaws their research is finding in these devices, such as memory leaks that create vulnerabil

Wimmera Mallee News introduces Horsham Times

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Wimmera Mallee News in Wimmera, Victoria, has added a new publication to its roster, called the Horsham Times.

Premiering on May 29, the Horsham Times is actually a revival of the first Horsham Times that was in print from 1886 to 1959 when it merged with the West Wimmera Mail to become the Wimmera Mail-Times. 

The Mail-Times, however, was among the ACM titles shut down last month over lower ad revenues, along with sister titles Stawell Times-News and Ararat Advertiser, and Horsham residents needed fresh news and information. 

Wimmera Mallee News managing editor David Ward said the plan calls to hire six people for the new Horsham Times’ editorial board and lease office space in Horsham proper. 

He also sees the move as a link to the past. 

"In the 1890s my great-grandfather George Ward came to Horsham and worked on the Horsham Times and ended up being the owner. The name was available and we felt there was a really strong family connection there

Subject Line Real Estate Is A Precious Resource

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

 

"[Company Name] Announcement"
 
That's the actual subject line of a press release email I received yesterday. It's... not good. But it's also not the worst I've seen in recent times.
 
The worst are those that put in so much preamble that the content of the subject is hidden because there's no email software on Earth that shows more than the first 12 words (if the words are short).
 
"Press Release: New tool helps measure sustainability impact..."
 
What's the tool? Who is making it? Is there a wow stat lurking inside? Don't tease me. Don't build suspense. Don't make me think. Just hit it fast and hard. Why should I open this email? What is your company announcing that means I want to write about it?
 
It's vital to remember that our job is not reading your emails. It is finding the best stories to write for our audience on whatever timeline we need to work under.
 
We don't read

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