PR must accept that social media drives news and reputation management

I’ve long advocated that social media doesn’t work if you consign it to a silo and treat it simply as part of your digital marketing. The BBC is the the first mainstream news organisation to mandate its journalist to use social media and social networks as a primary source. Peter Horrocks, the new director of BBC Global News who took over last week, said: ‘it was important for editorial staff to make better use of social media and become more collaborative in producing stories.’

Peter Horrock Facebook/Twitter montage

Peter Horrocks: backing Facebook and Twitter. Photograph: Martin Godwin

He told BBC in-house weekly magazine Ariel: “This isn’t just a kind of fad from someone who’s an enthusiast of technology. I’m afraid you’re not doing your job if you can’t do those things. It’s not discretionary.’

This is just the latest sign of how quickly things are changing because as recently as last year BBC’s 2009 editorial guidelines (PDF) mentioned social media just once, in the context of warning about copyright issues if you re-use content. It will be interesting to see how quickly the guidelines are updated and what they say.

Wolfstar is increasingly working with clients to help them modernise how they do traditional media relations. It’s not just about social media news rooms (of which we’ve now done quite a lot), but is far more fundamental and is about the everyday activities of public relations professionals that need to do media relations. It’s about understanding the different types of stories that journalists are searching for, the new types of content they need, how journalists research stories and how journalists interact with sources.

Q&A: BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks on social media and news

About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • annejaa

    Well public relations in the new media era is identifying the best blogs to add to an outreach list.The key to using social media in your pitch plan is to not make it your entire plan. Use different tools, like press releases, article marketing sites, blogs and social networking sites to create a well-rounded strategy.Ne ways i would like to know more so i will keep looking around.
    drive a man wild

  • http://twitter.com/toivom Toivo Mvula

    Your blog post doesn't really touch on the topic. Anyway, it would be foolish for any PR professional to ignore what is being said about them on social media sites. Their organisation's reputation can be ruined, because as you say, journalists turn to social media for news.