BBC editor says new media vital for crisis comms

PR professionals underestimate the importance of new media in times of crisis 'at their peril'.

That was the warning issued by Gary Duffy, editor of BBC­ Interactive and part of a line-up of journalists speaking at PRWeek's Taking The Drama Out of A ­Crisis conference this Tuesday in London.

Jamie Angus, commissioning editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, and Sky News ­associate editor ­Simon Bucks, agreed. They said PROs should have more consideration for new-media channels, which had become the ‘primary source' of information for journalists and the public ­during crises.

The panel also criticised the lack of female and ethnic-minority spokespeople used by firms, and urged PROs to pay more attention to how spokespeople will resonate with targeted audiences.

Speakers in other sessions urged PR practitioners to make more use of regional media.

Thames Water head of comms Nick Tennant said communicating positive messages via local media had lifted staff morale during summer water shortages.

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