Shut up and complain

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

 

Tensions are running hot at a number of local publications, with threats and complaints clanging loudly across the industry. It’s never pretty to watch, but it feels important to reflect on how the effort to control every message has reached a breaking point.
 
It’s everyone’s right to choose whether or not they speak to the media. It’s everyone’s right to choose how they try to spread messages about their great and wonderful goods and services.
 
What is not everyone’s right is to decide exactly what media outlets are allowed to say.
 
There are plenty of times people get things wrong, reveal biases, overegg a problem, or a thousand other ways a business or individual can be upset by what has been said about them in the press. 
 
But seeing people leap from zero engagement with journalists to demands of removal or legal action feels like many have forgotten how we used to amicably engage even when we found ourselves in disagreement.
 
As I type those words I can’t help but look at the wider world and think, well, yes, this all kind of fits with how public discourse has devolved. No one reaches across aisles anymore. No one finds common ground.
 
What I’d love to hear from our public relations friends is whether some of this process has been a byproduct of the era of tightly controlled messaging and talking points, or whether some of this is occurring in spite of PR recommendations to be more open, candid or responsive around media requests?
 
Yes, it can be tricky to navigate talking to a reporter who you know is on the trail of some very bad news about your organisation. But at the very least, moving toward offering written comment instead of ‘no comment’ or ignoring requests would be a step in the right direction?
 
An ignored request followed by a complaint is one of the worst slights on a journalist out there. “Oh, so you were listening, were you? I guess it’s nice to finally hear from you?”
 
In many ways it comes down to good and bad faith. I know there are bad faith journalists out there that make life harder for PR. And the bad faith actors making it harder for those of better faith to get fair access. But delivering bad faith engagement in reverse? Not helping.
 
How do we restore better faith in the industry? I feel like this is a big role for PR to play. To actively recommend access not just for journalists they believe will say nice things, but for those who are tough but fair too.
 
To help businesses find where the rewards lie if they make a positive choice to not just lie low until they have their next press release to send out. And to deliver some honest, warts and all access from time to time.
 
We need to remember this isn’t a battle. And you’re not just trying to win over a journalist, you’re trying to reach readers of publications. If you’re removing yourself from offering any perspective on a story at all, you give up many rights to complain (not all, but many).
 
And if there’s a real problem you’re not dealing with, that’s on you. At some point you need to solve it, not just hope no one ever mentions it again.

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Hills Radio set for closure

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Mt Barker, SA station Hills Radio 88.9FM is now marked for closure, effective 30 September. 

The closure was made official after the ACMA awarded Lofty Community Media Inc the long-term community radio broadcasting licence for the 88.9FM frequency. 

Hills Radio started airing in 2014, but has shared the frequency with Lofty since November 2018. 

Formal applications for the full licence covering Mt Barker, however, have been filed with ACMA since October last year and Hills Radio were asked to detail to ACMA their business and coverage model.

“...in making its decision ACMA considered the extent to which the proposed services would meet the needs of the local community, and the capacity of the applicants to provide the proposed service. It considers that community participation and engagement are the cornerstone of community broadcasting. We considered that we more than met the greatest requirement, but ACMA considered our application did not meet that requireme

AAP receives fresh government funds

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) has received a new cash grant from the federal government, totaling $5m.

AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy said the money, allotted under the Public Interest News Gathering program, is programmed to support the company’s operations, especially with uncertainties under the pandemic. The cash grant is covered under a funding agreement enacted with the AAP’s acquisition by an impact investment team led by Peter Tonagh.

At the time of the announcement, the AAP was running a GoFundMe campaign with around $120K raised so far and aiming for $500K.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented challenges for Australia’s regional media sector, with severe declines in advertising revenue threatening the sustainability of many news outlets. The AAP newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news. This allows regional mastheads to conc

Helping journos make the most of early morning announcements

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Last week was one of those classic weeks when there were multiple reasons for Australian journalists to get up before the sun – or stay up – to cover big events taking place in US focused timezones.
 
It’s something Australian sports fans have always endured if they want to catch the big global events live, so it’s not like tech and games are the only industries where this happens. But it’s one of those things that often gets a begrudging “here we go again” response from journos on social media.
 
But, for the most part, I think many of those who do get up early for these things enjoy the sense of occasion that such an early alarm means. Yep, it’s ‘just’ a new product, or a new game, and if the event isn’t super exciting in the end the cries of “I got up for this???” ring loudly across Twitter timelines. But, usually, if you’re covering this it’s because you already had a love for the

Northern Rivers Review set to emerge in October

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NSW’s Northern Rivers region is soon to be the subject of a new Australian Community Media (ACM) title, called the Northern Rivers Review. 

Scheduled to go live on 29 October, the Northern Rivers Review will be for readers in Lismore, Ballina, Richmond River, and Byron Bay. ACM is setting $2 for a print edition and $2 for a weekly digital subscription. 

Former The Lismore Echo editor Sophie Mueller has been appointed as the Northern Rivers Review’s editor. 

"Being a local business owner and having spent many years coming to the Byron area, I couldn't be happier to be launching a new publication in the area I care so much about. Our focus has been to listen to the people and build a local team, which will focus on local stories, issues and the region's best real estate,” said ACM chairman Anthony Catalano.

Tonic Health Media rebrands to Tonic Media Network

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Tonic Health Media has debuted its new business name: Tonic Media Network (pictured).

Company managing director/CEO Dr Matthew Cullen said the name change was driven by a need to expand the company’s business remit beyond being a simple health portal. This included the development of a new digital-out-of-home platform with Vistar, Hivestack, and Broadsign; the creation of the Chemist2U ecommerce platform, and the purchase of health content website mydr.com.au.

The company also had grown up to 50 staff since starting business in 2014.

“We are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to connect people to relevant consumer messaging when they need it most and this rebrand is the latest evolution of that vision. Building upon Tonic’s existing reputation in the market, we’re excited to continue growing under this new banner to become the largest lifestyle, health and wellbeing media network in Australia,” added Cullen.

Lambert in charge of Women’s Agenda

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Women’s Agenda publisher and co-owner Tarla Lambert has taken over as editor-in-chief.

Co-founder and editor Angela Priestley said that after eight years running the editorial side of the company, she had opted to let Lambert run that side of the business. She herself will become the new strategy chief and creative director, in charge of podcasts and new partner content campaigns.

Lambert joined Women’s Agenda in 2015 as associate publisher but was moved up to publisher/co-owner in 2017.

“Building Agenda Media and @WomensAgenda with @angelapriestley and our dynamo team has been one of my biggest life highlights. I couldn’t be happier to be the new editor in chief and keep growing our footprint. Small, female-led teams do huge things,” Tweeted Lambert.

Follow Lambert on LinkedIn.

Harding flies home

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

KIIS 101.1 FM breakfast co-host Polly “PJ” Harding has flown home to New Zealand, reported Radio Today. 

Parent company ARN stated that she was opting to return home and set up a remote studio link to continue the show with Jase for the remainder of 2020. 

She will return to Australia in early 2021.

Stay tuned with Harding on Twitter @PJHardingZM.

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