If your job is to communicate with journalists, your duties are becoming more complicated because of these disturbing news media trends:
Trend No. 1: Media speculation
CNN has taken the sin of speculation to an all-time high with its 24/7 guessing game regarding the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370.
In the future, you will spend more time than ever before responding to rumors. Combat this with more frequent crisis communications directly to your audiences.
Trend No. 2: Breaking news is broken, and there is nothing breaking
The phrase “breaking news” previously described events that were “breaking” at that very moment, such as a fire or explosion. Sadly, today news stations slap the moniker on whatever the first story of the newscast is, even if the event happened hours before.
This makes your job harder, because your little crisis might get portrayed as a much bigger crisis. You can’t afford to linger in your response and allow the media to blow things out of proportion.
Trend No. 3: Exclusive
Excessive use of the term “exclusive.” In its purest form, an exclusive is an interview all media outlets wanted but only one could get, revealing groundbreaking information.
Tread with caution that the one-on-one interview you give doesn’t get portrayed as something bigger than it really is.
Trend No. 4: Trending now
Social media trends are taking precedent over real news. The “Today” show and “Good Morning America” feature special rooms where they focus on what’s trending. Local stations are wasting valuable airtime repeating fluff on social media.
When you pitch a news event in the future, you must make it more visual and trend-able.
Trend No. 5: Caught on camera
An increasing number of events are getting news coverage simply because they were captured on video. These days, if a tree falls in the woods and it’s not on video, it is not news. But if someone gets video, it could get airtime.
If someone captures compromising video of your executives, employees, or a mishap, you must be ready to respond with the speed of social media and not the slow pace of traditional corporate communications.
Trend No. 6: Social media backlash
News stations increasingly are reporting what people think and feel about various topics on social media. This makes your company face tougher scrutiny than ever, with potential damage to your reputation and revenue.
The time is now to rethink your social media and crisis communication strategies.
Trend No. 7: Unconfirmed reports
The phrase “has not confirmed” has been used over and over in recent broadcasts, specifically 187 times on “Morning Express with Robin Meade” (source: IQ Media). These news releases are unverified rumors, repeated from source to source.
This means you need a skilled staff or vendor who can monitor online content every minute of the day and well-trained spokespeople to fully address your scenarios.
Gerard Braud heads Braud Communications.