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Mobile Video Now a Crucial Reporting Tool for Journalists – How Can PR Adapt?

Aug 30, 2012 5:59 AM / by Jenny Gardynski

In doing a quick Google search of “Wall Street Journal” you’ll receive results for the newspaper’s Twitter page, Facebook page, radio network and iTunes page. The point here is that the Wall Street Journal, like many other publications today, is a far cry from a black and white print newspaper. And I know that we’ve all been talking about the changing media landscape for some time now, but the Journal’s latest announcement this week reinforces this even further.

On Monday, the publication announced the launch of a global video platform, WSJ WorldStream. What’s really cool about this is that more than 2,000 reporters are now empowered to report on the news directly from their smartphones, as they’ll upload short-form videos (less than one minute in length) from wherever they are onto this publishing platform. And in almost real-time, upon the review of an editor, the footage is uploaded for all to view and share. The Wall Street Journal says that their video viewership has more than doubled in the past six months; hence why it made sense for them to embrace this new model of reporting and publishing.

Since the launch of the platform, WSJ reporters have been covering the Republican National Convention, Hurricane Isaac, the economic crisis in Europe and many more global issues that are top of mind for its audience. See for example, this 38 second clip on Hurricane Isaac. You get the gist of what’s happening on the scene, can follow that reporter on Twitter and use the share buttons to promote the video socially. In addition to being found within WSJ.com articles, in the outlet’s daily video programming and on WSJ WorldStream, the videos can also be located on Twitter by searching for #worldstream.

While this is all very interesting and a clear indicator of the shift to mobile and social, what does this mean for the public relations industry and for our clients? Here are a few things for PR practitioners to start thinking about to keep up with and potentially get ahead of the constantly evolving media.

Media Training for Video: If media outlets are moving from print articles to video, we need to adapt. Ensure that your clients are media trained for video interviews, whether they’re in-person or through satellite or Skype. This means they dress appropriately, speak clearly and articulately and have the messaging down to a science.

Importance of Spokespeople: If your regular spokespeople don’t have the best presence for video, see if there are other executives that may be a better fit for these interviews.

Less is More: Our clients can’t be long-winded. If they have a lot to say, we need to help them determine which messages are the most crucial to vocalize. Considering readers’ decreasing attention spans and the move to shorter content – whether it’s a video segment or an article – our clients may only have the opportunity to offer a few comments.

Media Relations Outreach Strategy: Our media outreach strategy also needs to change. If a reporter you typically worked with is now traveling to conferences and events interviewing people for video, reach out to find out his or her schedule. Learn when the reporter will be in your clients’ area for a relevant event. It could be a mere matter of logistics to get your client included in a piece.

Incorporating Social Media: It’s even more important now for us to leverage social media in media relations. As noted, WorldStream includes the Twitter handles of the reporters publishing videos. With a simple click, you’ve entered a journalist’s personal thoughts and updates. In addition to Tweeting about what topics they’ll be covering, reporters may also be Tweeting about where they’re headed for a major news event. Follow them carefully and if relevant, find out if your client can offer comments via email, hop on a quick phone call, meet them in person or do a Skype interview. The more flexible we can be, the better. And instead of emailing, it may be easier to break through with a Tweet – especially if they’re on their smartphones already.

Are there other ways we should be adapting to this digital media shift? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Topics: PR, smartphone, media, journalism, video, wall street journal, Mobile, media relations, WorldStream

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