Tag Archives: Media

The impact of the media, including social, on the legal profession

Lawyers are no longer just professionals, they have to be marketers.

There is the temptation for lawyers to promote themselves through cases.  The issue of representing the client and self-promotion is a fine balancing act.

Then there is Twitter – is this leading to the mis-reporting of cases?  Are cases regularly reported in an unbalanced way?  The lines are blurred indeed.

The BBC’s Joshua Rozenberg discusses the issues of how the media is impacting the legal codes lawyers abide by in his regular slot: Law In Action.   Click here to listen.

Nicola Fisher and the media

The recent catapulting of Nicola Fisher to stardom and a  rumoured £50,000 fee for selling her “story”after being hit by a policeman at the G20 protests raises some interesting PR angles – ones that have been covered in other stories before but are worth looking at again.

I am not going to comment on the right to protest, whether it was excessive force or Nicola Fisher’s decidedly poor contribution to society (on benefits and never worked at 35 years of age; sorry I did for an instance).

The interesting things from a PR point of view is how the media can magnify certain stories – it is not a level all encompassing balanced view of our world, if you were in any doubt and Max Clifford’s involvement:

Perception moulded in the media

The issue of the right to protest in safety, police reactions to provocation and the myriad of causes represented by G20 protesters were discussed and rightly in the media during and after the G20 protests.

But I have just been reading about Police Officer Gary Toms on the Inspector Gadget blog.  Never heard of him?  Gary died tackling a robbery and barely made the media a week ago.  The author points out the distorted focus of our coverage (link above).

Yes the G20 makes headlines and there was video of the incidence to illustrate the story and there were the issues mentioned above, but so little interest in a policeman dying in the course of duty?

You have to accept the media is simply a lens to look at the world and not always “the true picture,” perhaps never a true picture depending on your point of view.

Max Clifford

On YouTube and on a number of blogs there has been a decidedly hostile view of Max Clifford’s participation.

Whether the cynicism he is accused of is of any interest to him or really damages him is doubtful.  The next person with a hit and tell or shenanigans at the FA will probably not be turned down by Max.

But I can’t help thinking that many people confuse his “ethics” and operating style as synonymous with PR professionals.  Of course they are not but it is once again for all of us to redress that record.

Time for the media to link back

When I was asked by a client if the publication, we had just been interviewed by, would link back I sheepishly said, “no.”

How many online versions of popular business and trade press and lifestyle publications allow you to link back?  How many offer that small incentive?  Surprisingly few is the answer or so it seems.

And that is a shame because it is an opportunity to encourage more loyalty and increase levels of conversation.  And it all accrues brownie points with the search engines.  The best thing it does not bring major costs but only a change of tactics.

You could also point that many online outlets do not link to the subject of their stories, another missed opportunity.

You only have to look at How-Do to know that it is a vital communications source for North West communications professionals.  And why?  Well because it encourages that conversation and loyalty.

There are so many online outlets that are missing out, that are not interacting with their clients and that is disappointing.  In this current climate it is also criminal.  After all if a site has lots of comment and encourages more traffic by engaging with readers, it surely will have more chance attracting advertising.

I am not having a go at publications that are not taking advantage of their potential, I just want the media and the journalists to become more vital and even more valued sources of information.

In defence of Robert Peston

A caught 10 minutes of quite a preposterous episode today: The Treasury Select Committee grilling five well-known journalists about their coverage of the credit crunch and especially Northern Rock.

The caption underneath kept coming up with “should coverage of the credit crunch be restricted?”  Ridiculous!

The five business journalists included Robert Peston, Jeff Randall and Alex Brummer.  As you might guess Robert Peston was the centre of attention.

The MPs questioning centred on responsibility.  Shouldn’t Peston and his colleagues hold off with stories to give Northern Rock a chance?  Hadn’t they created the run on the building society?  Did they have inside information and mysterious sources?

The rebuttal was that Northern Rock was a badly run business.  It had failed because its wholesale division had stalled and big investors saw the writing on the wall and took their money out.  Holding off on a story for 48 hours would not have saved it.

The run was in many ways Northern Rock’s fault.  Their website had gone down because the bandwidth capacity could not cope with visitors and this created panic.

The queues had built up because they have too few branches for their client base and too few staff were put on duty.

And if a financial institution is badly run, whose fault is it when savers want to take their money elsewhere?  And more so when it is on the brink of collapse?

As for the insinuation that the journalists had shady sources, well that proved to show the MPs as lacking an understanding of their subject.

Peston maintained he had many sources and had used many different sources over the years, including some of the MPs questioning him.  He cross checked everything and did not have narrow weak biased source to base his stories on – unlike Bush’s evidence of going to war with Iraq.

If this was a trial then the case would have been thrown out on the first day.  It was embarrassing for the MPs and they did not know hope ridiculous they sounded.

This view that the media somehow created a recession is seeking a convenient scape goat.

And as for recklessly putting economic institutions in danger by their reporting, it came out that there is a suspicion the the Government used the media to suppress share prices before buying them by leaking the appropriate stories.  I wonder if that will go before a select committee.

The media onslaught

It is like looking at an avalanche hurtling towards you and you cannot out run it.  In fact you have short legs and you have sprained your ankle.

I got back from holiday with a bug and no appetite, either food wise or media wise, considering the deluge of bad news.

Now, the media cannot be blamed for poor lending practices, over borrowing, naivety that a boom is never going to end, greed or any of the other causes that can be attributed to the recession.  But even the most optimistic might begin to feel they are mired at the edge of civilisation.  Should we all go round the world for a year or live it up on the dole and see whether our new band will make it?

I wonder how long it will take before good news stories start to dig us out of this hole when the storm has passed.

Is the media talking us into a recession?

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I am starting to hear this criticism being levelled at the media, as though any financial difficulties can be attributed solely to some irresponsible journalists.

If that is true, surely any upturn can be attributed to those same guys. So if your house has trebled in value you should be thanking your friendly local business journalist. Go on treat them to an expensive meal out at the very least.

It is true that confidence is everything. And of course the media has a strong influence here. But the fickle ebbing and flow of that precious feel good factor has more to it than the media wallowing in doom ridden scenarios, if we take away some ridiculous articles: one such piece in a national today claimed that the property market will not recover for 20 years. Who are you Mystic Meg or whatever she was called before the lottery. About as reliable.

The fact is the banks over lent, credit card companies over lent, mortgage companies over lent. We want our money back: Credit Crunch. I don’t have an economics degree I know but it didn’t help the lenders, so.

The media has power, it can influence, but somewhere, at least here, it is for the most part reporting the mistakes of others.

If you want to blame someone there are much more credible targets and some of them unfortunately include ourselves.