Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
April 27, 2009

Welcome to the Mainstream

In case you haven’t noticed, the blogosphere no longer needs to stand separate and apart from the mainstream media. Blogs have quietly joined the mainstream, at least in terms of their place in the editorial elixir that influences the court of public opinion.

It was late ’04 or early ’05 when Richard Edelman and I presented an introduction to weblogs to The New York Times Company’s communications teams — our focus: blogging’s burgeoning value to public relations professionals. Richard recently had become the first large PR agency CEO to blog regularly. (To this day, he may still be.)

At the time, we hadn’t yet predicted that blogs may one day usurp the news release as the primary deliverer of corporate news. At a minimum, they could serve as a means to publicly present one’s point-of-view, unfettered by the media filter. What’s more: contradictory perspectives would be addressed openly in the blog’s comments section or through comments on other blogs.

Today Reg-FD still prevents publicly traded companies from issuing their materials news on their blogs, but that will eventually change. Since that time, we’ve seen the atomization of media (and the news itself) and the emergence of social networks and micro-channels in which one must play to gain resonance.

For the purposes of this post, however, I want to talk about blogs, and specifically the panel over which I will preside at PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference: Social Media PR Strategies / Build Your Business and Brand on April 30–May 1 in NYC. Featured will be Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek’s “Blogspotting,” Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat, Lockhart Steele of Curbed, Adam Ostrow of Mashable, and Danny Shea, media editor for Huffington Post, the world’s most popular blog.

Back in the nascent days of blogging, we were told that bloggers were different than mainstream media and could not be “pitched” the same way. They must be “engaged.” Today, engagement applies to all journalists — from the citizen to the ink-stained variety. But there are subtle differences, not the least of which is the fact that the vast majority of bloggers simply do not apply the same reporting rigor to their work as their cousins in the MSM.  Still, an increasing number of the more established blogs will do their homework (especially those on the PRSA panel).

For the panel, we will probe an eclectic and influential group of bloggers to learn what has changed and what hasn’t since those early days. I hope you can make it.

Peter Himler, founder/principal of Flatiron Communications, LLCBy Peter Himler, APR is an award-winning public relations industry professional. He is founder/principal of Flatiron Communications LLC, a public relations/media consulting firm that straddles the worlds of traditional PR and social media.  Peter blogs on The Flack, a weblog that attempts to shine a brighter light on the subtle role public relations plays in politics, popular culture, journalism, business/finance, entertainment, technology, social media, consumer marketing and sports, and can be found on Twitter @PeterHimler.

Join Himler at the PRSA 2010 Digital Impact Conference: Learn From Digital Influencers along with Joe Jaffe and Kami Huyse, APR for the co-presentation, “PR3.0: Where the PR Industry is Headed.” Also, sign up for the teleseminar “What’s Working in the Changed PR Landscape: Practical Applications That Will Work in Your Campaigns with panelists Adam Christiansen, Shonali Burke, and David Bradfield, moderated by Peter Himler

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