Paper review: PR in control; Twitter’s big after all; scepticism about digital TV

The view that PR has taken control appears to be the consensus  in The Australian and the Australian Financial Review today.  

The Oz reports on research by academic Jim Macnamara that “as much as 80% of media content is derived from PR material”.

But Neil Shoebridge has clearly had an interesting week with PRs, dedicating his weekly column in the AFR to the topic under the headline “How to lose clients and annoy reporters”. Although he doesn’t name names, he observes:

“The low barriers to entry in public relations and resultant proliferation of small companies and fierce competition – coupled with staff who are poorly trained or have an inflated view of the importance of what they do – mean that media relations is awash with incompetent people.”

The editor of the AFR’s  marketing section sets out his eight sins, which do rather more like a list of things he finds annoying:

  1. Ringing to check if the journo has received the press release
  2. Pitching inappropriate stories
  3. Pitching without knowing the outlet
  4. Following up when the story has already appeared
  5. Promising the same exclusive to more than one outlet
  6. Pushign a story that’s appeared somewhere else
  7. Using out of date contact lists
  8. Setting conditions on what can be covered in an interview

Meanwhile, The Oz returns to the subject of Twitter, which it declared last week was “spluttering out“. The memo doesn’t seem to have reached the paper’s media section though, as it reports that Australian Fashion Week was dominated by tweeting.

Speaking of last week, the Oz returns to the story of Today Tonight and the ACCC, with chairman Graeme Samuel warning that other outlets will be under scrutiny.

And in another piece the paper looks even further back – to a story which broke in the UK three weeks ago, examining the political scalp taken by blogger Paul Staines as a “symbol of the rising power of political bloggers“.

Looking to the future, the boss of Broadcast Australia is sounding sceptical that a switch-off of analogue TV services next year will happen, saying the timetable is “quite challenging”.

And the initiatives by Google and Yahoo Search Marketing to bring in new customers could drive up the costs for existing clients, suggests Lara Sinclair.

Meanwhile, The Oz teases its readers somewhat over last night’s Logies. The news report on page 4 invites readers to turn to page 31 for a full list of winners. Over on page 31, there are a few more winners, but still not the complete list. Instead there’s a further  invitation: “see website for details”. It doesn’t say which website, but clearly it’s not its own one, as the full list isn’t there at the time of writing.

The Oz also predicts that ACP’s  Grazia‘s sales are slumping, suggesting it may only be selling 40,000 copies a week.

There’s also scepticism about ACP in the Fin, with growing scepticism about whether the magazine publisher’s owner PBL  intends to stick to its plans to build its own printing press. One source tells the paper:

“There is not a printing press supplier anywhere that believes they will ever sell PBL Media a press. No one it taking PBL Media’s plan seriously.”

And that might not be such a bad idea, as even super investor Warren Buffett is falling out of love with print, reports the SMH. According to the paper, he has said he would not buy newspapers “at any price”.


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