A few weeks ago I went to a conference to hear about how the media can win back trust. There was one point that stood out for me. It was when we were told that media are increasingly moving towards analytical opinion-based articles and away from fact-based. The argument is that this is what the reader wants. No one wants to have to collate data from the news, analyse it and reach a conclusion – and they definitely don’t want to do this at 7am, on the way to work, when half asleep.
However, it stuck to me because it signified more than ever how influential the media is in shaping our thoughts. It has always been known that a paper read by conservatives will give a conservative view, and a paper read by labour supporters will give a labour view, but, the relatively recent importance placed on analysis – perhaps even taking precedence over the facts – means that more than ever, readers are subject to being persuaded by a one-sided opinion which is displayed as a factual news piece.
On the other hand, the movement towards analytical opinion-based stories shows how hungry people are for conversation. We see it every day on Twitter and we can see it around us; whatever the hot topic is, people want to talk about it. And in PR, it is our job to help fuel these discussions, by placing at the helm of them the professionals who have studied the areas in question for years. Whether it is philosophers, lawyers or accountants, people want to hear their views, and in PR, it is our role to ensure that these views are being considered.
I work with a plethora of clients – most from very different professions. Occasionally, two will show interest in the same topic, and more often than not, their views will be as different as their professions. It is part of the reason why I love being in PR; everyday, we are challenged on our views, and exposed to new information. I have not had a day yet where I am not learning something new, and even if it contrasts to my own; hearing different views which may spark discussion is as rewarding as it gets.
By Yasmin Mckelvie, Account Executive.