OLD Media Moves

Frankie Flack: The trouble with broadcast business news

August 27, 2013

Posted by Frankie Flack

I’m a big fan of business news in all forms, print, online, radio and television.

However, I have to admit that, for me, business news is just better in print.  This is really fundamentally driven by the different business models of print and broadcast news that forces them to go after consumers in different ways.  One thing that broadcast media does tend to do better is foster debate among experts and demonstrate intangible qualities of business leaders.

But this isn’t a lesson on business models in the media world.

The result is that at the end of the day this creates a different dynamic between PR professionals and the anchors, producers and bookers involved in creating business broadcast news.  While there are slightly different dynamics with those three audiences, there are some general principles to keep in mind when working with broadcast journalists.

The first is that speed is paramount.  This applies to any interaction with media, but is enhanced even further with broadcast.  News stories are only a matter of minutes long, leaving little room to capture all the nuance of complicated issues.

When working with bookers, PR professionals should focus on understanding the segment being discussed and not necessarily balancing out the story with backgrounding, etc.  It is important to understand if the segment is one-on-one, who the anchor/s will be, where it will be held, when the guest needs to be present, etc.  The more the PR person knows about the segment the better they can prepare their guest to manage any issues.

Things change a bit when working with a producer, who has more editorial control over exactly how the segment will be positioned.  Here PR professionals should work much in the same way they do with print reporters, offering background information, answering questions on background and generally helping to shape the story.

In the typically rare instance of working directly with the anchor, the PR professional should quickly deliver a top line message but also (if relevant) push the anchor to ask key questions of the competition.

Most of all, PR professionals must always keep in mind that broadcast journalists are going to be incredibly quick and must keep the most salient one to two key points top of mind.  This is not necessarily the same key message for print, but the one message you would want to seen on the screen.

While my humble opinion puts print above broadcast, it is undeniable that broadcast news creates a dynamic that tests business executives in ways print simply cannot.

This is a critical dynamic that PR professionals have to carefully consider in all their interactions with broadcast journalists.


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