Michelle Sullivan Communications

Media 2.0 – Une nouvelle initiative voit le jour

Je me répète, je le sais. Vous devez être tannés, mais bon, voici: les médias sont en profonde mutation, à la recherche de LA solution magique qui permettra à leurs journalistes de continuer d’exercer leur métier. Une conséquence? Des initiatives comme Webdo.ca voient le jour. Webdo (comme hebdo, peut-être?) est un projet d’André Bérard « membre de la Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ).  » Sur le CV de M. Bérard, on trouve Accès Laurentides: le journal indépendant.  Bérard n’est pas un nouvel arrivé sur le Web: il tenait le carnet Îlot Grignon pendant quelques mois en 2008 ainsi que  Blogue-Notes depuis février 2006, et avait même reçu une mise en demeure de la Ville de St-Adèle en novembre de la même année. On l’accusait de tenir des propos diffamatoires à l’endroit du maire, des conseillers et de l’administration municipale et prétendait qu’il exposait le maire, M. Jean-Paul Cardinal « au mépris et à la haine des citoyens de Sainte-Adèle et, globalement, de l’ensemble de la population des Laurentides. »

L’affaire s’est éventuellement calmée et voici que 2,5 ans plus tard, Webdo.ca est né:

Webdo.ca est un portail indépendant d’information locale et régionale dédié à la couverture de l’actualité laurentienne et des régions limitrophes. webdo.ca s’engage à livrer aux lecteurs de ces territoires une information pertinente et de qualité, à couvrir les initiatives régionales en matière de démocratie participative et d’implication citoyenne et de promouvoir la liberté de presse et la liberté d’expression. webdo.ca propose une approche pluraliste et rigoureuse de l’actualité régionale et encourage la diversité des médias, des contenus et des points de vue.

webdo.ca est une initiative du journaliste et éditorialiste indépendant André Bérard, membre de la Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ). La crise qui bouleverse actuellement les modèles traditionnels des entreprises médiatiques pousse journalistes et éditeurs à redéfinir leur rôle, leur pratique ainsi que leur engagement envers les lecteurs. L’ambition de ce portail est de prendre part à cette «révolution tranquille de l’information» et de s’inclure dans une réflexion sur les nouveaux canaux de diffusion de l’information dans l’espace du Web 2.0. Ainsi, cette plateforme évoluera, se transformera et s’ajustera tout au long de son implantation dans le paysage médiatique régional et favorisera la coopétition plutôt que la compétition entre les médias.

 Voici la politique concernant les commentaires:

En choisissant de prendre part aux échanges dans ce site, vous vous engagez à respecter les autres participants ainsi que leur point de vue et à utiliser un langage adéquat et respectueux. webdo.ca se réserve le droit de retirer tout commentaire qui, selon le modérateur, ne respecte pas les bons usages associés à une telle tribune. webdo.ca pourra aussi, à sa discrétion, interdire les commentaires ou en approuver le contenu avant de les publier.

Les chroniqueurs: Pierre Grignon, Pierre Lafontaine et Francine Turbide.

Le modèle d’affaires? Si on se fie à ce billet publié au mois d’avril dans Blogue-notes, on espère que les annoncers des Laurentides seront nombreux à migrer vers le Web. Assez pour payer les salaires de l’éditeur, de trois chroniqueurs et d’un représentant publicitaire? Seul le temps nous le dira. Si un jour ce modèle fonctionne assez bien pour que des journalistes dans la trentaine puissent gagner leur pain suffisamment bien pour élever leurs enfants, tout en assurant une qualité journalistique selon les règles de l’art, on pourra effectivement crier hourra. D’ici là, je vais suivre webdo.ca avec intérêt.

Merci à Benoit Grenier, dont le blogue est également à lire.

Take my advice: when a journalist or blogger vents, listen.

Aurelie Alaume is completely right. The capacity to listen is definitely an important quality for any PR practitioner to master. Luckily for us, never has listening been easier than in the age of social media. So let’s get into the habit of it. When someone vents about us and our industry, let’s pay attention.

The following blogs are in my Google reader and, presuming you’re a media relations practitioner interested in being effective and successful, should be in yours as well:

Pro PR Tips – this blog by tech and business journalist Rafe Needleman (currently editor at CNET) is a list of very practical short and sweet words of wisdom to PR types. Needleman’s project started on Twitter before moving to the blog and even to an online book format.  Listen to Sam Whitmore’s interview with Rafe here.

Dear PR Flack: rants about bad PR pitches by bloggers. Maybe if we all follow their advice and pleas for better practices, they’ll change the name of their blog and start writing about sunflowers and puppy dogs (we can only dream). Trust me, it will be painful to read through these blog posts, particularly if you’re guilty of having done something similar or if you care anything at all about our industry’s reputation. Some blog post titles that stick out like a sore thumb (literally) include ‘Amateur’ does not mean ‘gullible sucker’ and How’s the glass house? I have to say, this one personally resonates with me (you know who you are). For those of you who are as masochistic as I am, the Dear PR Flack’s pleasure-pain experience continues on Twitter.

The Bad Pitch Blog: the grandfather of blogs in this category. Founders Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan have been ranting about bad pitches and demanding that PR elevates itself to new levels since January 2006. Hat tip to the masters of the form. Sign up for Wednesday’s « Bad Pitch Night School (during the day) » teleseminar here.

Of course, not everyone appreciates the feedback. Let’s play a little game. See if you can spot what’s wrong with this blog post about Dear PR Flack and how it can explain why feathers were ruffled. Deservedly so.

These blogs and Twitter feeds all represent generosity at its best. Free advice from the people you’re trying to reach to help you do your job better. Take my advice. Pay attention.

Top 10 qualities of a PR practitioner in the digital age

Remember back in high school? When the guidance counselor had you take a personality test and then announced with great authority that you should become a ‘teacher, journalist, lawyer or communicator’ ? Looking around at my peers, I can definitely spot some common traits.

But what does it take to do PR in the digital age? Here’s my top ten list of qualities a PR practitioner must have to successfully make the transition from traditional PR to new PR:

1. Intellectual curiosity. If you’re the type of practitioner who is satisfied with what has been tried and tested, and who isn’t naturally inclined to check out new ways of thinking about and doing PR, you may want to step aside and let someone else run your client’s social media campaign. Social media isn’t about tools. It isn’t Twitter or Facebook, but what the popularity of Twitter and Facebook have to say about how people want to communicate, share and learn. It’s about a new mentality and new expectations. Right now, social media is still the Wild West. Anything can happen. Scary? Depends on your personality.

2. Passion. The advent of social media represents a new era for PR and the way in which it is practiced. This should excite you, and your significant other and friends should either find your enthusiasm contagious or start to complain that you’re sounding like a broken record. If you’re not passionate about how you spend a significant part of your day, not only is social media likely not for you, you may want to start thinking about a new career. Life’s too short and our industry’s reputation needs passionate advocates.

3. Dedication. Taking the social media plunge doesn’t mean staying in the wading pool and splashing a bit of water around. It means diving in to the deep end. It means getting wet. Very wet. It means knowing what a blog is, by blogging. What a podcast is, by podcasting. What an online community is, by becoming part of one. It doesn’t have to be a PR blog or a PR community. If you’re nervous about swimming with your peers, then check out the pool of fellow scrapbooking, cycling, photography or Sherlock Holmes fanatics.  If you’re going to add social media to your box of tricks, then commit to it fully. If not, outsource, because you’re better off working with someone who does.

4. Integrity, authenticity and transparency. In the world of social media, there is a code to live by. Transgress this code by putting up a fake blog, for example, and not only will your client suffer the wrath of the public once the subterfuge is uncovered, your own reputation will take a hit. No one likes a fake. It’s just lame. Any future endeavours will automatically be considered suspect.  Flogs are the clearest indication that your PR philosophy remains old school. Be real. Be straightforward. Don’t play games or try to manipulate. Be confident in who you are, and in the value of the message, product or service your client has hired you to communicate, or walk away.

5. Humility. There is no such thing as a social media expert, just yet. All leaders in the space have wisely, and firmly, refused the crown. Anyone who claims to be one is delusional, self-aggrandizing or a liar. The space changes too quickly. We’re gaining competence, but true expertise remains elusive. So why bother pretending? Ask questions, solicit advice, get help. Work with like-minded peers and the community you’re reaching out to for feedback and advice. Read their tweets, blogs and books, listen to their podcasts. Comment and call in. Engage them at the next networking opportunity or online.

6. Generosity. This is the flipside of #5. Share your discoveries and learnings with your peers. Do someone .. even a competitor .. a favour. You’ve made a mistake? Humility will have you admit it. Generosity will have you share it with others so that they can avoid the same pitfall. Do it in the interest of raising industry standards. In the spirit of Akoha, play it forward. Such goodwill will come back to you in spades.

7. A touch of geekiness, or at the very least a desire to learn about tech. While you can hire people to help you with the technical side of social media, a basic understanding of things like RSS, iTunes subscriptions, WordPress, sound editing and website navigation can go a long way towards helping you help your clients. If you ignore the nitty gritty and only spend time on the theoretical, you won’t feel as though you have a complete handle on the tools you’re proposing that your client leverage in his next social media campaign. You won’t appreciate their complexity, or the time and effort involved in their implementation. There’s no way around it: to sell something well, you need to understand it. Only then will you understand its potential and limitations and be in a position to intelligently counsel your clients. Go ahead. Get your hands dirty. Trust me, it’s fun.

8. Respectfulness and courteousness. No one owes you or your client anything. Apply the Golden Rule, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Need examples? End pitch-blasting. Instead, take the time to know the journalists and bloggers in your field of interest. Know what they write/talk about. Know if they’re receptive to hearing from PR consultants and, if so, know the best way to reach them. If they prefer Twitter, tweet. It also means always taking the high road. Remember that there is a human being behind each blog or newspaper article. It is your job to engage that person appropriately. A little « savoir-vivre » takes you far in life, both online and off.

9. Ability to embrace a service mentality. Journalists have high praise for PR practitioners who are effective and efficient, who serve as resources even when they’re not running campaigns and who apply the effort required to support requests and, perhaps, even anticipate them. Similarly, experienced bloggers are already pleading with PR types not to waste their time with poorly targeted pitches that clearly show that they haven’t even bothered to get to know them or their blog. A good PR practioner aims to serve both his client and the traditional or social media person he or she is working with. We need to keep our ear to the ground, do our research, know our stuff and develop and share our network even when there’s no immediate or apparent payoff.

10. Ability to embrace change. As PR practitioners, we are known as guard dogs when in reality we should be known as facilitators.  Once you’ve gotten a handle on the reality of social media, you’ll realize that our industry’s guard dog days are over. Stop deluding yourselves. Controlling the message is an outdated PR imperative which, in the real world, has officially been relegated to the past thanks in large part to the growth of social media. Don’t become an anachronism. Embrace the future.

There you have it. My first top 10 list. Anything different come to mind? I want to hear what you’d add to the mix.

Email etiquette 101

In the age of social media, we often turn our attention away from email but the fact remains that,  in the North American market, email marketing and communication remains one of the most common ways to exchange information and influence opinion.

The following email etiquette top 10 list is courtesy of FabJob.com. I’m particularly fond of #8, so I’ve included the full explanation below. Full details of the complete list are available online.

1. Watch your words.

2. (Ed note: removed, because I’m not sure I completely agree with it)

3. Remember, few people like « spam. »

4. Nothing is private.

5. Keep attachments to a minimum.

6. CC Or Not To CC?

7. Never assume anything.

8. Think twice before hitting « reply to all. » When you are one of multiple e-mail recipients, consider who really needs to hear your response. It probably isn’t necessary to hit the « reply to all button. » Most often, the original author of the e-mail is the only person to which you need reply.

9. If your message doesn’t need a response, let the recipient know.

10. Don’t send e-mails that simply say « Thanks. »

Like most of you, I’m already submerged by email and receiving one that breaks rules 3, 8 and 10, in particular, have me shaking my head and hitting delete.

As with any communication, it’s important to put yourself in the email recipient’s place and be sure that what you’re sending has value. You should also ask yourself whether or not email is the most effective way to communicate given the subject, sensitivity or complexity of your particular message. Sometimes we can be so email-centric that we forget that picking up the phone or meeting in person can actually be a much more effective way of resolving a complex issue efficiently.

It’s unlikely that any of the communications professionals who read this blog need a reminder about email etiquette, but our clients and business partners often do. The question is : what is the etiquette for broaching the subject of email etiquette with a client or colleague without ruffling feathers?

If someone has the magic formula, please let me know.

Quand est-ce qu’un journaliste devient un blogueur?

Qui dit que les journalistes ne pourront bientôt plus gagner leur pain? Voilà que deux journalistes canadiennes acceptent de traverser la Canada sur le bras de la Commission canadienne du tourisme (CCT) et d’Air Canada pour nous inciter à visiter notre propre pays cette anneé. Elles publieront des billets de blogue et sont présentes sur Facebook, Twitter, Flickr et YouTube, où le profil d’une des blogueuses se dresse comme suit:

La journaliste et blogueuse francophone Carolyne Weldon présente le projet des Carnets transcanadiens en direct de Montréal.

Une initiative louable, mais quel en est l’impact pour la profession?

Certains diraient qu’on ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre: qu’un journaliste n’est plus journaliste dès qu’il accepte un mandat de ce genre.  D’autres diront peut-être que la réalité est telle que les journalistes n’ont plus le choix que de faire preuve de flexibilité pour gagner leur vie. Et que, par le fait même, nous devrons adapter notre façon de percevoir la profession.

Selon la FPJQ:

le terme « journaliste » réfère à toute personne qui exerce une fonction de journaliste pour le compte d’une entreprise de presse.

Les journalistes doivent s’abstenir d’effectuer, en dehors du journalisme, des tâches reliées aux communications: relations publiques, publicité, promotion, cours donnés à ceux qui font l’événement sur la façon de se comporter devant les médias, simulacres de conférences de presse pour préparer des porte-parole à faire face aux journalistes, etc. Ces tâches servent des intérêts particuliers et visent à transmettre un message partisan au public. Les journalistes ne peuvent pas communiquer un jour des informations partisanes et le lendemain des informations impartiales, sans susciter la confusion dans le public et jeter un doute constant sur leur crédibilité et leur intégrité.

C’est effectivement délicat, leur affaire. Je serais intéressée à savoir comment ces deux journalistes comptent jongler leurs dédoublement identitaire.

Mme Revay se décrit ainsi:

My background is in broadcast journalism (BCTV on Global, The View and Good Morning America) and public relations, so I’m into communicating. I have degree in International Relations from UBC and a Diploma in Broadcasting from BCIT.

source: http://www.nowpublic.com/victoria_revay

Pour sa part, Mme Weldon se décrit ainsi sur son site Internet:

Ms. Weldon holds a post-graduate journalism degree from Concordia University, and has published articles and photographs in Bizim Anadolu, Montreal’s Turkish community monthly, Community Contact, Montreal’s Black and Carribean bi-monthly, and the Atlanta-based Barber’s Only Magazine.

On dit que Michaëlle Jean ne pourra jamais réintégrer son rôle de journaliste, depuis qu’elle a accepté le rôle de Gouverneure Générale.  Et la blogueuse Michelle Blanc ne se voit toujours pas décerner le titre de journaliste, malgré ses efforts en ce sens. * Quel sera donc le statut de ceux qui font l’inverse? De journalistes qui acceptent d’être rémunérés pour bloguer?

Comme quoi nous entrons de plus en plus dans une zone grise.

Qu’en pensez vous?

* MAJ: Méa culpa – Michelle Blanc confirme qu’elle n’a jamais demandé une telle reconnaissance. Comme ils disent, nous regrettons l’erreur.

MAJ 2: Trouvaille intéressante: Media Bloggers Association :  a nonpartisan non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of « blogging » or « citizen journalism » as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.