Public Relations Insights: News Media Gets Back to Business

The news this Labor Day weekend showed just how silly, shocking and scandalous media can get. Post-Labor Day we hope media have had enough of Snooki, Russell, Clint and the like.

By Katherine Heaviside

PR people like me are among the most critical news consumers. Now that Labor Day has just passed, and everyone is getting back to business, it’s time to bring on some real news. 


If you were among those who read the paper this weekend, you might have seen the article, “Last meals for convicts found to be unhealthy.” It reported the shocking revelation that convicts in their last hours are skipping healthy fare like low-cal salad dressings and simple broiled salmon and instead opting for artery-clogging fatty steaks and French fries. Really, can you blame them?

The endless assessments of Clint Eastwood talking to a chair were impossible to miss. I guess depending on your political persuasion, it was either an embarrassment for the Republican Party or brilliant. But, hand it to the savvy person (a Democratic communications strategist, perhaps), who suggested Betty White as the perfect foil to Dirty Harry.

Then there’s poor Russell Crowe, who gets the incompetent navigator award for getting lost kayaking on Huntington Bay. How do you do that? I live and kayak on Huntington Bay and it seems that you could just drift with the tide and bump into land wherever you turn. But, that doesn’t even rise to the level of say, Snookie’s new baby, for juicy celebrity gossip.   

Labor Day weekend press is a reminder that sensational, silly, shocking and scandalous trivia gets pretty old, pretty fast. I, for one, think it’s more engaging to consume news that raises your hackles and propels you to action than to wallow in celebrity voyeurism. 

So, bring on the real news!  Oh, and is anyone interested in lobbying for kayaking directional signs?

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Bill McKenna September 05, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Chris, You may want to watch link above it will make you also look twice at what blogs and internet reporting you view also....and where the source is coming from
GM September 05, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I would think some of the public is ready for an informative straight news style program, without the cackling anchors. Go back to Ted Turner's original CNN format using "news readers" rather than personalities. Let the real news drive the ratings.Leave out movie stars, murders, and street violence and give us something to chew on. We can handle it.
Epoch 5 Public Relations September 05, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Thanks, I really enjoyed the twit.tv show. The spillover from on-line to traditional media certainly is scary -- because actual "journalism" and the standards that it should include largely do not exist on-line. You know, one minute a "blogger" (with little requirement for facts and journalistic standards) and the next minute a "reporter." I am often very distressed at how traditional journalists move back and forth between media in ways that suggest that the two are fully compatible, which they are not.
Epoch 5 Public Relations September 05, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Interesting that "fact-checking" is, itself, suddenly a news story. Guess what? It's always been a requirement, and media is horribly guilty of letting it go. Until, of course, a political elecgtion strategy openly includes misinformation, exaggeration and obfuscation. So ironic that media first reports information, then "fact checks"! Really? When I studied journalism you were supposed to fact check before you reported information as fact.
Barbara J Lee September 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Re "fact checking" and its foibles read "The lifespan of a fact / John D'Agata and Jim Fingal" to un-delude yourself of its value in attaining "truth". Re MSM...it markets a viewer who is seeking shock value and vicarious living...not head talk...so don't wait for the weekend boredoms to subside.


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