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Shut up and complain

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

 

Tensions are running hot at a number of local publications, with threats and complaints clanging loudly across the industry. It’s never pretty to watch, but it feels important to reflect on how the effort to control every message has reached a breaking point.
 
It’s everyone’s right to choose whether or not they speak to the media. It’s everyone’s right to choose how they try to spread messages about their great and wonderful goods and services.
 
What is not everyone’s right is to decide exactly what media outlets are allowed to say.
 
There are plenty of times people get things wrong, reveal biases, overegg a problem, or a thousand other ways a business or individual can be upset by what has been said about them in the press. 
 
But seeing people leap from zero engagement with journalists to demands of removal or legal action feels like many have forgotten how we used to amicably engage even when we found ourselves in disagreement.
 
As I type those words I can’t help but look at the wider world and think, well, yes, this all kind of fits with how public discourse has devolved. No one reaches across aisles anymore. No one finds common ground.
 
What I’d love to hear from our public relations friends is whether some of this process has been a byproduct of the era of tightly controlled messaging and talking points, or whether some of this is occurring in spite of PR recommendations to be more open, candid or responsive around media requests?
 
Yes, it can be tricky to navigate talking to a reporter who you know is on the trail of some very bad news about your organisation. But at the very least, moving toward offering written comment instead of ‘no comment’ or ignoring requests would be a step in the right direction?
 
An ignored request followed by a complaint is one of the worst slights on a journalist out there. “Oh, so you were listening, were you? I guess it’s nice to finally hear from you?”
 
In many ways it comes down to good and bad faith. I know there are bad faith journalists out there that make life harder for PR. And the bad faith actors making it harder for those of better faith to get fair access. But delivering bad faith engagement in reverse? Not helping.
 
How do we restore better faith in the industry? I feel like this is a big role for PR to play. To actively recommend access not just for journalists they believe will say nice things, but for those who are tough but fair too.
 
To help businesses find where the rewards lie if they make a positive choice to not just lie low until they have their next press release to send out. And to deliver some honest, warts and all access from time to time.
 
We need to remember this isn’t a battle. And you’re not just trying to win over a journalist, you’re trying to reach readers of publications. If you’re removing yourself from offering any perspective on a story at all, you give up many rights to complain (not all, but many).
 
And if there’s a real problem you’re not dealing with, that’s on you. At some point you need to solve it, not just hope no one ever mentions it again.

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Northern Rivers Review set to emerge in October

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NSW’s Northern Rivers region is soon to be the subject of a new Australian Community Media (ACM) title, called the Northern Rivers Review. 

Scheduled to go live on 29 October, the Northern Rivers Review will be for readers in Lismore, Ballina, Richmond River, and Byron Bay. ACM is setting $2 for a print edition and $2 for a weekly digital subscription. 

Former The Lismore Echo editor Sophie Mueller has been appointed as the Northern Rivers Review’s editor. 

"Being a local business owner and having spent many years coming to the Byron area, I couldn't be happier to be launching a new publication in the area I care so much about. Our focus has been to listen to the people and build a local team, which will focus on local stories, issues and the region's best real estate,” said ACM chairman Anthony Catalano.

Tonic Health Media rebrands to Tonic Media Network

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Tonic Health Media has debuted its new business name: Tonic Media Network (pictured).

Company managing director/CEO Dr Matthew Cullen said the name change was driven by a need to expand the company’s business remit beyond being a simple health portal. This included the development of a new digital-out-of-home platform with Vistar, Hivestack, and Broadsign; the creation of the Chemist2U ecommerce platform, and the purchase of health content website mydr.com.au.

The company also had grown up to 50 staff since starting business in 2014.

“We are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to connect people to relevant consumer messaging when they need it most and this rebrand is the latest evolution of that vision. Building upon Tonic’s existing reputation in the market, we’re excited to continue growing under this new banner to become the largest lifestyle, health and wellbeing media network in Australia,” added Cullen.

Lambert in charge of Women’s Agenda

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Women’s Agenda publisher and co-owner Tarla Lambert has taken over as editor-in-chief.

Co-founder and editor Angela Priestley said that after eight years running the editorial side of the company, she had opted to let Lambert run that side of the business. She herself will become the new strategy chief and creative director, in charge of podcasts and new partner content campaigns.

Lambert joined Women’s Agenda in 2015 as associate publisher but was moved up to publisher/co-owner in 2017.

“Building Agenda Media and @WomensAgenda with @angelapriestley and our dynamo team has been one of my biggest life highlights. I couldn’t be happier to be the new editor in chief and keep growing our footprint. Small, female-led teams do huge things,” Tweeted Lambert.

Follow Lambert on LinkedIn.

Harding flies home

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

KIIS 101.1 FM breakfast co-host Polly “PJ” Harding has flown home to New Zealand, reported Radio Today. 

Parent company ARN stated that she was opting to return home and set up a remote studio link to continue the show with Jase for the remainder of 2020. 

She will return to Australia in early 2021.

Stay tuned with Harding on Twitter @PJHardingZM.

Shelley Lloyd exits ABC

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Shelley Lloyd has logged out of ABC Brisbane.

She stated in a Tweet that today’s morning bulletin would be her last, hinting that Emma Blackwood and Meg Purtell will be filling in.

Lloyd was with the national broadcaster for 24 years, with her work including hosting the Queensland edition of Country Hour, and recruitment and mentoring of ABC Queensland reporters.

Chris and Mel Dzelde exit Power FM

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The husband-and-wife tandem of Chris and Mel Dzelde has stepped down from 5MU and Power FM (pictured) in general.

Mel Dzelde said in a social media post that they were leaving so she could further deal with Stage IV cancer. She herself had been on medical leave for the past four months as Power FM’s content director, as was Chris on carer leave from hosting afternoon show The Shovel and Bull.

"Cancer has a way of showing you your priorities and for me, I’m visualising a future free to explore new projects and opportunities... I know I’ll be a better version of myself as a result. I want to thank my team for inspiring me every day. I know you’ll continue to make me proud," said Mrs Dzelde.

Power FM has yet to announce changes to the Dzeldes’ now-vacant job posts.

New state appointments up at Hit Network

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Southern Cross Austereo has set up a raft of programming changes for the Hit Network, including new producers and workday hosts for the statewide shows. 

On the producer front, Queensland’s Cliffo and Gabi show will be under the aegis of Carley Whittington. In Victoria, Riley-Rose Harper will work on Tim and Jess’ breakfast show. Ex-HIT Squad member Jorgia Pisani is producing the WA breakfast with Allan and Michelle while Matt Lucas stays on at NSW’s Gawndy and Maz.

Hit’s Community Division stations will have their own workday hosts for the 9AM-12 noon block.

They are: Tyson Witham (Albury), Mark Littler (Atherton/Cairns), Michael Billings (Bendigo), Ben Stevenson (Coffs Harbour), Ryan Bebbington (Emerald/Rockhampton), Dane McGuirk (Griffith/Wagga), Emily Crawford (Kingaroy/Roma), Joel Dixon (Mackay), Cameron Hilder (Mareeba/Mt Isa), Jason Coombes (Maryborough), Pat Silcox (Mildura), Carly Porch (Orange), James Preston (Port Macquarie), Josiah Shala (She

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