Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending the Publicity Club of New York’s “The Wall Street Journal, Et. Al.” Social Media Week panel discussion. As I sat down to eat my dry chicken breast and salad, I noticed that I was one the younger people in the room. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “This isn’t exactly the audience I expected at social media week?” Boy, did they make me looks stupid. Turns out social media tools are no longer just for the young and nimble, but everyone now seems to be seeing the value in connecting via the world wide web—well everyone except financial institutions (we’ll get to that later).
The distinguished panel included reporters and editors from all major Dow Jones properties:
- Peter Kafka, All Things Digital
- Julie Iannuzzi, The WSJ Digital Network
- Simon Constable, The News Hub
- Jon Friedman, Marketwatch
- Peter McKay, The Wall Street Journal
Each panelist gave some interesting insight into how they develop stories. Julie Iannuzzi explained that all publications under the Dow Jones umbrella are looking for a full package when reviewing a story idea. Including multimedia elements, specifically digital video, will help you immensely when pitching them a story idea.
When discussing how social media tools have impacted the media landscape, Jon Friedman made the insightful statement that social media is no longer just a tool, but a way of life. He went on to discuss how PR practitioners can effectively reach the media—his take: think like a journalist. Note to the wise, before pitching think about what the real story is and why the reporter should care.
Peter Kafka bluntly told the audience that his goals and his reader’s goals differ vastly from ours and those of our clients, so pitching him is generally an act in futility.
Although the panelists had differing views on how to reach them with story ideas, they all agreed that publicists should never call. They are always on deadline and you are just interrupting. So word to the wise, only call if you know the reporter well enough to justify your actions.
Another thing they could mostly agree on is that financial institutions have been slow to show up at the social media party. Peter McKay, who covers financials for The Wall Street Journal, is active on Twitter, but unfortunately many of his subjects are not. Peter asserted that this is likely a result of an abundance of caution and not strict adherence to any sort of FCC rules. True or not, it’s defiantly an interesting subject.
One more topic that sparked lively debate was the recent hoopla around the iPad. Does Apple’s slow leak of information and veil of secrecy around its products help or hurt? While the panelists were divided, most could agree that what goes up must come down—Apple will get their share of bad press eventually. As Jon Friedman so eloquently put it, the media loves to build people up and then tear them down, so Steve Jobs will get his—yikes!