Friday, August 5, 2011

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: A Media Perspective

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Aspen Security Forum, a terrific and insightful event full of panel discussions about the all important topics of homeland security and terrorism. Among the many notable panels was "The Media's Role in Covering Terrorism."

My question to the panel -- about 49 minutes into the video -- involved the impact of social media on the media's ability in getting the story right vs. getting the story first. I recalled the situation when former Rep. "Gabby" Giffords was shot in Tucson, Ariz., this past January. In the immediate aftermath, some news outlets mistakenly reported via twitter that she had died.

Journalists from both The New York Times and 60 Minutes shared their perspectives.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where was Burson's and Facebook's Moral Compass?

The blind eye toward ethics illustrated by both Burson and Facebook as part of a PR campaign directed at Google really gets under my skin. This is not about the antitrust and privacy concerns that are raising the eye brows of federal regulators and policy-makers (I get to this later in the post).

For those of you who may have missed it, Facebook retained Burson-Marsteller for a campaign that seemed to be aimed primarily at Google. Two former journalists from Burson pitched editorials to the media without disclosing the name of their client. The content was about Google's supposed anti-competitive behavior. I first read about it in USA Today last week. 

This is about PR people showing poor judgement that is detrimental to our field. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) clearly spells out that we should be transparent when dealing with the media or any third party for that matter. The thing is, the former journalists at Burson and the Facebook PR people are smart and know this. So it begs the question: why do it especially given the risk of any digital communication with journalists coming out was so high? That's a question that both Facebook and Google need to answer.