After yesterday’s appalling turnout I am very tempted to say we will repeat the planned session. Thanks to the two who arrived, and to the couple of people who contacted me with apologies and explanations. As for the others, please email with an explanation. If you had a good reason for missing the session, that’s fine; if not, and you don’t contact me today, I will begin the process of deselecting you from the module. This might mean you are not able to progress top Level 2

OK, today let’s think carefully about the implications blogging and other social media have for journalism – particularly in the context of PR. We will use the changing definition of ‘journalist’ to examine the challenges this presents to PR – so we will begin by watching some vox pop videos in which people answer the question, What is PR?

OK, what would you have said if someone approached you in the street and asked, “What is a journalist?” Write down your own definitions, and discuss.


Do you remember the plane that crashlanded on the Hudson River in New York last year?

Janis Krumms used Twitter to send out this photograph of an event that was clearly newsworthy, and travelled around the world in little more than a blink of an eye. Was Janis a journalist?

Probably not. But you have all seen Josh’s SR2 blog – is Josh a journalist? If so, when did he become a journalist? If not, what would he have to do to become a journalist?

For PR students, this is not merely an abstract question. Imagine you are working for Sunderland City Council, or a public body heavily involved in projects taking place in SR2’s patch. Imagine you are a business trying to launch in this area?  Do you treat him as a journalist now?

What if he is being critical of your policy/ activities? How do you respond?

What if he wants Press accreditation for an event?

What if you are asked to draw up a media list for a client wishing to launch a product or service?

Thinking of bloggers in general, how would you select who is worth talking to? Who is worth actively engaging with?

Traditionally, journalists are trained, and as part of this training they will sign up to a number of conventions, ranging from not revealing their sopurces to understanding the meanining of ‘off the record’, respecting embargoes and not normally mentioning pitches from PRs. It is easy to imagine a very effective blogger who has little or no knowledge never mind respect for these conventions. What are the implications?

On the other hand, ‘traditional’ journalists can be cynical, world-weary and overworked. Why not pitch your client’s story to someone young, fresh – and possibly naive?

Imagine you work for in urban regeneration and are involved ina project that would involve demolishing substabndard housing and replacing it with flats and a superstore. How would ou engage with bloggers?

Perhaps you work for Night Owls, the new company launching nightwear for men (MAC163 veterans will explain to the rest of the class). Would you include bloggers in your media strategy?

I look forward to reading your comments on this post.