Follow the Media


January 19, 2015 by Kathryn Kuttis

Edelman_Logo_ColorAs a media relations professional with Edelman, the most important part of my job was to stay on top of the news and analyze how it might impact my clients.

Overtime, I got to know reporters and the industries they covered. I did this by reading their articles. Clients paid for our strategic media counsel. They asked how to break news stories and gain favorable media coverage. To do this we had to be familiar with publications and stay informed about what they were covering. While you will probably never know more about a client’s business than they do, you can track media trends by reading newspapers and magazines.

Here’s a tip: never meet with a client, a reporter, a prospective employer, your boss or your new boyfriend’s parents before you read the day’s news. If something big is happening in their world, you want to be able to talk about it with them. Even better, ask them an informed question and listen to their answer.

Most media coverage tends to cascade from one original source. You can learn a lot about an issue by tracking a news story as it evolves. It can also help to look at the company’s press release to hear their point of view. Of course, the New York Times usually generates the biggest national stories but trade publications are a goldmine of information that should not be overlooked. No matter how obscure the subject you can bet there is a trade publication about it.

If you are interested in a public relations career, take time to read major industry trades like PR Week, PR Daily and The Holmes Report. You can find detailed information about your dream firm and their clients. Here’s an article called, “What’s Next for Waggener Edstrom.”

You can use the media to stay informed on almost any topic. Widen your search to include industry thought leaders on Twitter and well-known bloggers. Here’s a link to Richard Edelman’s 6 A.M. blog. Social media makes it easy to create your own industry network. Go ahead, set up a Google alert and see how quickly you become an expert in your field. It might make you a better conversationalist and help you get that internship you really want.

For students in my J452 class, listed below are your kernels for the week. These are  headlines from national and trade publications that will hopefully spark an idea for your public relations blog assignment. To find out more about blog kernels and our assignment click here.

Jamie Dimon Resorts To Profanity To Explain JPMorgan’s Legal Pitfalls (Forbes) CEO Jamie Dimon had some bad news for investors on a conference call last week. Many are criticizing his choice of words. Should CEOs avoid cursing? Could it be part of a strategic communication strategy?

After Suspending Supplier, Chipotle Takes Pork Off Menu in 600 Stores (New York Times) How is this a PR win for Chipotle? What did they do to turn bad news into a positive story? Are there lessons here for other companies facing a communications crisis?

Marines Considering Change To Social Media Policies (Marine Corps Times) How can anyone enforce social media standards? As online engagement continues to expand, how will brands find ways to safeguard themselves? Should social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter work to help them?

If Apple Made Milk And Other Cool Imaginary Product Packaging (Ad Week) This clever art project looks at luxury brand promotion and consumer culture. What do you think it says about our loyalty to certain brands? Could there be a market for luxury food promotion? Do we already have one?

Saturday Night Live Spoofs Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Ad Parody (E! Online) This Calvin Klein ad has been the subject of much debate this week. While critics have called the ads legitimacy into question, it is still getting lots of attention. Is a merciless spoof on SNL good press or bad?

West Elm Criticized for “Made In Brooklyn” Items Manufactured in China (PR Daily) How could West Elm have handled this differently. Is this a communications crisis for their brand? How is the headline deceptive? Why is this situation ironic given the idea behind buy local campaigns?

Eric Talmadge Is The Only Western Reporter Regularly In North Korea. Here’s What It’s Like. (WashingtonPost) Consider the freedoms we take for granted as storytellers. How is Talmadge able to report from North Korea despite these restrictions? Hint: look at his Instagram account.

Social Media Reduces Stress For Women, But Not Men (New York Magazine) We’re all spending more time on social media. What does the Pew Research tell us that we don’t already know? Do you have any tips for social media users who want to improve their health?

NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka: I Wouldn’t Want My Child To Play Football (Huffington Post) While HBO producers are probably grateful for this story, I’m guessing the NFL is not. How can they respond to this story? What audience will be their top priority as they look ahead to the Super Bowl?

Los Angeles Subway Will Get WiFi, Cellular Phone Service (SCPR) Is this an investment in customer safety or convenience? Critics argue that funding could be better spent elsewhere. If you were advising the city on their communications strategy what would be your next step?

Did Academy Award Nominations Deserve #WhiteOscarsOutrage? (Deadline) What do you think about the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations? How could twitter outrage and trending hashtags lead to change among Oscar voters?


3 thoughts on “Follow the Media

  1. kthier says:

    Fabulous advice! I’m sharing with my students. I love how J452 helps grow students in this capacity.

  2. kkuttis says:

    Thank you kthier! Reading has become a secret strategy for learning. I’m glad it’s available to everyone.

  3. Kayla Gordon says:

    Thank you for the insight on media relations professions! I still think this would be a great career path for me…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


If you share an interest in public relations, media and visual design, this might be a good place for you to hang out. I started this blog to exchange ideas with my students at the University of Oregon. They keep me (and maybe you too) at the forefront of social media, visual communication and career development. Here you'll find our best ideas, links and learning as we write, create and blog our way through a course on Strategic PR Communication.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,857 other followers

%d bloggers like this: