Interesting article in the Independent today by media editor Ian Burrell about how PRs are by-passing journalists and creating their own content.
Burrell writes: "Public relations, to some the business of puff and fluff, is flexing its media muscles like never before and strong- arming its way into areas once considered the exclusive domains of advertising agencies, broadcasters and publishers.
"PRs, who once had to go through the prism of journalism to convey their messages to a mass audience, are increasingly confident in circumventing traditional media altogether. In generating their own video and text-based digital content on behalf of clients, they are not only taking the bread from the table of a weakened advertising sector but encroaching onto the old territory of television and press companies."
Burell says at the forefront of this change is Edelman, the American-owned PR firm with 51 offices around the world, who has hired Richard Sambrook, the former head of BBC News.
He adds: "The path between journalism and public relations is a well beaten one. But whereas most who previously crossed to "the other side" were hired because of their industry contacts or because their poacher-turned-gamekeeper insight made them effective crisis management "flaks", Edelman's strategy is altogether different.
Burrell says Sambrook is convinced that Edelman's clients must take their message directly to the consumer. Sambrook is quoted as saying: "The mantra is that every company has to be a media company in their own right, telling their own stories not just through websites but through branded entertainment, video, iPad and mobile applications."
Burrell also notes: "Company president Richard Edelman points to the fragmentation of traditional media, with shrinking audiences and a decline in trust. Sambrook, he believes, can help the company's clients express themselves in a way that has credibility and reach."
- The article quotes Alan Edwards, founder of the entertainment specialist Outside Organisation, which has recently hired Neil Wallis, former editor of The People, saying: "We have got more PRs than journalists in the UK now and something is changing fundamentally."