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PR for research: six problems to avoid

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Rarely a month goes by without a fancy research claim or two landing in a journalist's inbox. A new product is N times better than last year's. A survey has shown what people think about X. A study has found that Y is the new Z in a very interesting slice of the market.
Drumming up some interesting research is the key to getting some mileage between product launches and executive quotables, so it makes plenty of sense that you want to generate some interesting data points to create a story opportunity. But if the pitch is aimed toward journalists who live in a specialised domain, you really want to know that the information is more than just window dressing.
Here's a few ways to be prepared for what a journalist might want if they’re interested in turning that research into a story but are bringing a skeptical eye to how it’s being presented.
Sample size: For any survey or field study, you should absolutely expect some journalists to ask what your sample size was. Maybe you don't want to foreground it because you know it isn't particularly big, and only weakly valid. Fine. But when someone asks, it's important to have an answer. And if your numbers are actually attached to a robust study of hundreds or thousands of appropriate targets, sing it loud and proud.
Correlation is not causation and other logical fallacies: Too many PR research claims make a big leap from a statistic being present to a statistic being the reason why something happened. Try to make sure your claim is valid based on the actual information presented. Is the reduction in swashbuckling pirates a cause of climate change? There's certainly a correlation! No. Of course not. So don't throw statistics around and claim they prove a point that they really don't.
Recency: It's important to be able to also answer the question on when a given piece of research was conducted. Now, this one can often be one of the bigger issues you don't want to address... because things take time to get approved... and a lot can change while those approvals have been underway... A statistic can get stale quickly, or can be influenced by some pretty significant external forces depending on when they were generated. If someone asks? Don't lie. And if you know this could be a factor, address it in your research if you're trying to offer something more robust than a fun fluff piece.
Burying the good stuff: When you're trying to share high quality information that is well researched and has lots of useful insights, let journalists know there's a bigger report available than what is mentioned in the release. So many times I've seen fantastic stories generated because a good journalist who knows how to read a report deeply found some fascinating insights that were hiding inside. And that's not a bad thing either. Journalists want to find their own better story hiding out of plain sight! Just remember to clearly mention when there's a lot more where these top line data points came from.
Tone: If your research is very, truly meant to be about a fun engagement with media that is indeed always on the lookout for something that will both inform and entertain a reader, then don't try to over egg the idea. Let something fun and silly be what it is intended to be. Use the tone of the PR to sell us on the amusement value so we're all buying into the idea so we also share it with readers in the same spirit.

Availability: Most important of all, be available for the follow up queries. A research drop should be the start of a conversation with good journalists about the story they want to tell and the conversations they're looking to generate to go along with the information. Don't dump and run.

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More Media News

Kendall promoted at ACM

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Australian Community Media (ACM) has named Tony Kendall as the new managing director, succeeding Allen Williams.

The move was announced after Williams tendered his notice, effective 18 December. He had been with the company for 30 years. 

With the appointment, Kendall will turn over his post as chief revenue officer to enterprise sales director Sharon Fitter. Both of them will report to ACM CEO Antony Catalano;

“I’ve loved my time at ACM and the growth mindset that Antony brings to the business, which is rare in today’s media landscape. I couldn’t be happier to be taking on the role of managing director and I look forward to working with the ACM Executive and the broader team as we look to drive this business forward,” said Kendall, who joined last year after the merger of ARN and HT&E, where he was chief revenue officer.

CFO Renee Duffy, meanwhile, will have COO-class responsibilities such as operations, workplace safety, and logistics under

Quiet time approaches, but good pitches can still win

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Bouncing off the Influencing roundtable the other day, it seemed good to emphasise an important point that came up more than once during the discussion. As the holidays approach, when is too late for PR to pitch an idea for a story?
There's no question many outlets simply aren't at their desks, so there's less opportunity in terms of the breadth of coverage you can chase down. But if you keep an eye on which bylines are still beavering away during the quiet time you can find some writers very keen to hear about anything worth writing.
From skeleton crews at major outlets to people like myself who have their own ships to steer through the summer, the slow down in writing also means a slow down in PR pitches. And that means there's more potential to get noticed by the handful of us still looking for stories.
There’s plenty of backlogs of stories we’re trying to tidy off before the year is through. I know I need to close out a few PR-ena

Luke Bradnam out of The Rush Hour

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Luke Bradnam is moving on from The Rush Hour at 92.5 Triple M.

He stated that he would not be coming back to the show in 2021. 

Bradnam joined 92.5 Triple M’s predecessor Gold FM in 2017, running the drive show also on Triple M Brisbane. He has not revealed what he will do next.

“Thank you to everybody at MMM for an amazing four years. I wish you all the best for 2021, and most of all thank you to everybody who has listened over the last 17 years you mean more to me than you’ll ever know,” said Bradnam.

Smethurst on The Age politics beat

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Annika Smethurst has joined The Age as its new state politics editor.

The Age editor Gay Alcorn revealed the news in a Tweet.

Smethurst had been on sabbatical since leaving the politics desk at the Sunday Telegraph and the Herald-Sun last August.

Keep updated with Smethurst on Twitter @AnnikaSmethurst.

The return of events in 2021

By Elliott Richardson in Media News on
As 2020 comes to a close, journalists and companies alike are planning for early 2021. To get an insight into the world of journalism for January and February next year Trevor Long, Leah Williams and Seamus Byrne joined Influencing’s digital technology roundtable.
Due to the pandemic events and product launches were cancelled, postponed and run digitally throughout 2020, but with restrictions easing in Australia, there is a possibility of events returning, but when will journalists look to attend those events?
Editor of Kotaku Leah Williams says she’ll feel more comfortable later in the year as people return to the office.
“The start of the year is still looking rocky but I think around March, as people return to the office we’ll be more settled. From there, I think that’s when stuff can start happening. Not necessarily the larger stuff like conferences and pop culture type events, I think they will be a little further on in the yea

SKY News Australia ready for 2021

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

SKY News Australia has rolled out its programming for 2021.

The network will resume the shows hosted by Chris Kenny, Peta Credlin, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, and Paul Murray on 24 January. 

Laura Jayes is helming AM Agenda alongside Kieran Gilbert, Andrew Clennell, Peter Stefanovic, Ashleigh Gillon, and Tom Connell.

Three new shows are premiering on 29 January. 

Catherine McGregor is leading The McGregor Angle. Former SA Sen Cory Bernardi is hosting his own show named Bernardi. Rita Panahi and new addition Nicolas Reece will examine political issues from opposing viewpoints on Friday-afternoon show The Friday Showdown.

Meanwhile, Annelise Nielsen is based in Washington DC as SKY News Australia’s first Washington correspondent.

Mediaworks under Discovery management

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Mediaworks TV Ltd of New Zealand has been officially purchased by Discovery Inc.

Under the new deal, Mediaworks will be rebranded as Discovery NZ Ltd, bringing with it entertainment channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV. The Bravo channels are joint ventures with NBC Universal.

Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent will be the company new co-GMs for ANZ, reporting to Discovery APAC president Simon Robinson. 

“Today is an exciting moment for Discovery as we significantly expand our operations in New Zealand, and look to create a trans-Tasman powerhouse organisation led by Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent. The acquisition of MediaWorks TV, with its popular brands and prominent position in New Zealand, will be pivotal in achieving long-term growth and success in both markets,” said Robinson.

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