Media relations' importance must not get lost in changing landscape

As PR professionals have elevated their standing within their organizations and with clients to the level of counselor and strategic partner, there is one skill that sometimes gets minimized.

As PR professionals have elevated their standing within their organizations and with clients to the level of counselor and strategic partner, there is one skill that sometimes gets minimized. And ironically, it's the skill that truly sets PR practitioners apart from their marketing brethren - media relations.

At a time when direct-to-consumer outreach and the bypassing of traditional media is rapidly increasing, outstanding media relations skills are even more of a valued asset.

This was confirmed for me as I examined the results of the 2010 PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey.

For the first time, this year's survey not only examined how journalists' jobs and habits are changing, but also how the changes in the media landscape are affecting PR professionals and their work with journalists.

Not surprisingly, the survey results showed a dramatic increase in the role that social media is playing in journalists' work - both in how they research stories and interact with PR pros. Likewise, PR practitioners are using tools like Facebook and Twitter more than ever to connect with, and pitch stories to, journalists.

This environment certainly can test the talents of even the savviest media relations expert - how exactly do you pitch a story in 140 characters or less? - but it makes those solid media relations skills that much more important. As journalists are bombarded with messages from many different sources, in both the longest and shortest form, the ability to break through and communicate a good story opportunity is more valuable than ever.

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