Fixing the Broken Media Model: Big Tech to the Rescue?

Fixing the Broken Media Model:  Big Tech to the Rescue?

It’s a conundrum. Most folks agree that access to relevant, unbiased news is important. By the same token, technology, digitized content, changing consumer habits and revenue models have been upended as readers have traded in subscriptions and ad-supported print content for news streams and social media hubs.

The tech we love to use to consume news has been gobbling up the very medium we rely on.

The 92 Percent Trust Metric: Journalism Stands Strong

The 92 Percent Trust Metric:  Journalism Stands Strong

A recent survey by the highly-respected research company Nielsen reveals confidence-inspiring findings for all of us who believe in the power of the fourth estate: A 2018 Nielsen Survey notes that journalism is trusted by 92% of consumers, ranking above independent consumer reviews.


World Press Freedom Day PRA Public Relations

One day a year, the world takes a deep-dive look at the power of the press.  But why not make the case for checking in on the health of the fourth estate on a daily basis?

Media trends, transparency, tools and access to intelligence are the bread and butter of the trade, and journalists face an every-day battle to do the work they were born to do:  cover the key features and breaking news of the world and industry, and apply needed context.  Attention to this critical mission should be on the minds, and the reading radar, of all of us, every day, right along with the journalists struggling to deliver credibility, vital news and relevance to our inboxes, devices and doorsteps.

Powerful Statistics, Sobering Reality

As citizens and residents of the United States, we take the First Amendment and its guarantee of freedom of the press as a given.  However, there are some sobering statistics we should look at.

The "didn't see that coming" statistic?  This country does not lead the way in freedom of press rights; we don't even rank in the top three.  Or even the top twenty:

According to Reporters without Borders, the United States ranks 43rd out of 180 countries for press freedom.

Across several political administrations, the fourth estate has dealt with suppression of information, attempts to reveal sources, intimidation and other factors.  And, in a sobering call to reality, journalists deal with much more than simple repression. As of today, over 13 journalists in 2017 alone have been killed in the pursuit of news.

Yes, journalists are the gatekeepers of information for our society, and they can pay a steep price for their commitment. 

What can we do, not just on World Press Day, but everyday, to help them in their mission, while guaranteeing our continued access to free and unfettered press?  Here are some simple steps:

  • Stay informed:  Not just from your favorite news sources, but a cross-section of media.  Understanding what's being shared, whether it's "true news," and being on top of media issues and trends is half the battle.  Rights and freedoms, whether press or otherwise, are often lost simply because people aren't paying attention.
  • Support legitimate news sources:  Yes, dive in behind the paywall, and pay up.  Quality news coverage costs money to produce.  We as a society have gotten used to the incredibly rich stream of information and content available to us.  Let's be grateful for this access, and put our money where are reading eyes are.  Some top media sites charge less than the cost of a cup of coffee for digital access, so sign up!
  • Question content:  There's a wealth of good guidance out in the digital world, providing guidance on whether news and reporting is truly independent and legitimate, or a paid-content attempt to influence.  The International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions has created this helpful infographic to provide context:  How to Spot Fake News

There's Hope in the Next Generation

There's a bright spot in all of this, however; and it's called the next generation. 

The Washington Post sponsored a student essay competition, which caught my eye. Designed for students in grades four - eight, it's an extraordinary "from the mouth of babes" look at what it means to have freedom of the press, here and abroad.

This year's winner is Jahnavi Dave, an eighth-grader, and her take-away was impressive:

Free press and technology go hand in hand. - Jahnavi, Dave, 8th Grader

Individuals and entities may use technology to chip away at the transparency and credibility of the press; but savvy media consumers, and tech-conversant next-generation readers also understand that technology is a powerful tool for protecting and accessing a free and independent press.

So, make every day World Press Day, and use both your rational judgment and the tools of technology to read, share and elevate the best efforts of the journalists committed to reporting on the news, trends and issues that so impact our lives.

By Pam Abrahamsson, founder, PRA Public Relations | @Pam_A

The Need-Like-Love Pinch Test

Proofing Your Public Relations Message

Public Relations Pinch Test PRA PR Blog

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? 

The newsletter story, industry article or Facebook feed that’s an endless blather of self-congratulatory product points.  You may not be expecting “War & Peace” over your a.m. coffee read, but you surely deserve better than a marketing brochure.

So, how do you make sure YOUR company writing doesn’t fall victim to the same “me marketing” blather?  There’s a three-part litmus test, plus a digital pocket of handy social tools to pinch-proof your thinking.

PR Pinch Test PRA PR Blog

The Need-Like-Love Pinch Test

It’s true.  We’re all human, and as such, I believe there’s three key things to keep in mind when writing for humans:

·      We need to be educated

·      We like to be in-the-know

·      We love to be entertained

If your writing meets one of these three standards, you can safely bet that you’re out of the “marketing blather” territory and firmly on “great writing” solid ground.

Need to be Educated

Let’s take “education,” for starters.  We all need to learn, and to keep up to date with the world and our industry. Will your reader come away having learned something?  Ideally, it’s related to your industry or expertise, but it is not an information piece on your product or solution.  If you’re in the payments industry, an informative look at the impact of digital wallets is a great topic.  The fact that your payments solution is available on a trial basis is not.

Like to be in the Know

In-the-Know:  no one wants to be left out of the loop.  If you’ve got some news to share, or something that is material to your company that is safe, and timely, to get out to the public, that’s fair game.  The next industry trend, the great new statistic, who doesn’t want to be the person with the scoop? And, if you’re reaching out to a journalist, the in-the-know news is the catnip-scoop they’ll find hard to resist.

Love…Those Cat Videos!

Entertained:  there’s a reason cute cat videos are the top-searched item on the web.  We’re humans, and we like to be engaged.  If you can bring a fresh voice, a bit of humor, or, well, think carefully about deploying a cat video – you could get upstaged.  But entertaining news and insight is a great way to get your audience engaged while you get your point across.

Journalists, Social Sharing & the Trend Tools

The other way to dial-in your message so you’re in-synch and sympatico with your community is to dive into the social stream, and double-check journalists’ trending topics.  Why?  Journalist coverage and social trends are reflectors; they show us what we’re interested in and engaged about in today’s fast moving communications world.  The following is a short-list of tools you can use to see what’s going on in social and journalist writing worlds:

 Pinch Test:  Social Tool Box


The Word Samurai to have in your corner when you want to see the social trends


your virtual journalist coffee shop.  See what they’re thinking and writing about

   Social Mention

If it’s happening on social, it’ll be mentioned here

   Google Alerts

Stay on top of breaking news about your company, key terms and industry

I know I’ve mentioned some of these tools in previous posts, but…I can’t help it!  I want to save you (and me, selfishly) from writing that fails the Pinch Test. 

Being in sync with trending topics, the top issues journalists are writing about, and keeping the Need – Like – Love formula top of mind is critical to success.

 Want to know more?  Feel free to find me on Twitter (@Pam_A), or reach out by email,, or phone: 503.298.9749.