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The Changing Media Environment Affects Role Of Professional Communicators

February 10, 2010

A wise man (better known as Fraser P. Seitel and Brad Pitt to some) says that as professional communicators we need to know about everything from Dr. Phil to Dr. Dre. That also includes knowing how to reach our key constituent publics around the world with traditional media, social media, and whatever media is to come. (source: The Practice of Public Relations, Eleventh Edition)

So reading the newspapers, trade journals, and on line publications, as well as writing well, telling the truth, and exhibiting transparency — helps us to stay on top of our game and achieve peak performance. Whether we have a subscription to The New York Times that gets delivered to our door, or we check the Wall Street Journal on our laptop when we wake each morning, the key is that we read what’s going on, analyze how we would handle it if the people and businesses involved needed our help, and always be aware of what’s going on in the world.

But what’s different?  Social media has added an entirely different dimension to our profession.  Instead of the usual day of perusing the papers, we must add Twitter, Facebook, and our RSS feeds to that list.  When we compose a press release and look to distribute it to the media, we also have to keep in mind how the editors will best read our information.  No longer are we living in the days where we devise a release and fax it to our destinations.  It’s all about electronic and web space.  As Shel Holtz stated, although the press release is still important, our efforts to earn coverage need to grow with the more complex news space.

Such growth can be a challenge.  It takes desire and interest to learn new mediums.  The learning curve may exist at first, but with anything else, once we utilize the tools, the challenge can then lead to an opportunity. 

Personally, as a New York University student in the Master’s program of Public Relations and Corporate Communication, I feel like my opportunities are endless.  If I understand the new media environment and link that with the communication skills and connections I already possess, I’m sure that there are opportunities right in front of me that I can’t even see.  There are doors to be opened, steps to be taken.  So as long as I am willing to evolve, I will always keep up with the evolution of this ever-changing industry.
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