Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 4, 2010

Save the PR Industry: Support Traditional Media

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy panel. That’s because, along with USA Today and the Society of Professional Journalists, we’re going to discuss dirty little secrets. Here’s one for starters:

“The dirty little secret of viral marketing campaigns on social media is: It often takes a lot of TRADITIONAL MEDIA marketing to get them started.”

That’s Donna Novitsky, the CEO of BigTent, a San Francisco social media firm for groups, revealing the truth to the New York Times’ Jane L. Levere.

Here’s another secret that’s making life tough for publicists:
In 1980, the ratio of publicists to editorial staffers was 1.3 to 1. Not good, but we could work around it.

By 2008, before newspapers hemorrhaged reporters, that ratio had almost quadrupled.

We’ll reveal more secrets at the PRSA 2010 International Conference, 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. Our call to action will be: “Save the PR Industry: Support Traditional Media

Join USA Today Multimedia Producer Josh Hatch, the Society of Professional Journalist’s Bill McCloskey, and Sharon Geltner of Froogle PR, as we emphasize the symbiotic nature of public relations with quality, sustainable journalism. We’ll discuss what publicists can do to save daily newspapers — the often unappreciated and unacknowledged origin of 95 percent of the fresh content on the World Wide Web. 

Factor in those hundreds of millions of re-Tweets, Facebook posts and social media “share this” widgets and you’ll conclude:

“People may be spending less time with the print product. But they are not spending less time with the news …” That’s from the American Society of News Editors.

We’ll note that journalists have created great wealth for search engines, such as the $25 billion Google is expected to make this year — while the host newspapers are in dire financial straits. But will Google inadvertently kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

“Google knows that its search function is only as valuable as the information it helps you find — a principal source of which is the beleaguered news business,” wrote James Fallows in his cover story in the June 2010 The Atlantic.

Special bonus you won’t want to miss: We’ll premier the custom motion graphics video, “The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News.” Feel free to post on your websites. And then our secret will be out and our campaign to save the news can begin.

Want to come along for the ride? Read the The Atlantic story.

Sharon Geltner, a former award-winning reporter, is president of Froogle PR, a south Florida multiplatform marketing and special events firm. An adjunct professor, she teaches social media and crisis communications workshops and has been honored for search engine optimization and online media campaigns. Geltner publicized and raised money for 12 years for Florida’s Gold Coast nonprofits by hosting events featuring Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated; Mavis Leno, wife of Jay Leno; and Denise Brown Simpson, the sister of the slain Nicole Brown Simpson. Geltner has published the Kindle book, “Charity Bashed,” a fun satire and murder mystery among the Palm Beach set. She is at work on the book, “The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News.” Also look for the upcoming website, where publicists can post their ideas, frustrations, concerns and triumphs about their savvy and pragmatic efforts to save the news.  Connect with Sharon on LinkedIn.

Join Sharon Geltner for her presentation, “Save the PR Industry: Support Traditional Media,” at the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, October 16–19 in Washington, D.C.!

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