Archive for June, 2009

iMedia Looking for Interns

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 25, 2009 by innovativemediapr

iMedia Public Relations, a full-service strategic media relations firm based in Princeton, New Jersey is seeking a dedicated individual for the summer or fall months. The intern candidate will be introduced to the world of the public relations agency.  We are a start-up company in need of a self-starter that is willing to learn and contribute to client programs right away.  Candidate duties will include building and updating media databases, online search and blog outreach, client research, phone work and other basic office duties.  Candidates should be proficient in all Microsoft Office programs and have an active knowledge of social media tools.

Internships are for credit only. We will develop a working schedule that is amenable to your class hours. 

iMedia Public Relations is an equal opportunity employer.

Candidates interested in arranging an interview should email their resume to:

Tom Cosentino, President, iMedia Public Relations at  tcosentino@innovativemediapr.com.

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iMedia Public Relations Adds PR Consulting on Twitter & Email

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 25, 2009 by innovativemediapr

iMedia Public Relations has added public relations counseling via Twitter and Email for those individuals and companies that need quick feedback and insight into public relations issues. Clients can access the service from iMedia by Direct Message over Twitter for a small monthly retainer fee, once they begin following @imediapr on Twitter.  This service is also available as an email service for companies not on Twitter. There is no media relations, press releases, etc., involved. 

These are private one-on-one messages and will not be shared with the Twitter community. Phone consultation would carry an additional charge.  This is not a service to promote a brand via Twitter which would be part of an overall public relations program developed for clients. This is strictly to provide public relations consulting in a Direct Message format. Contact me via Direct Message on Twitter @imediapr; email at tcosentino@innovativemediapr.com  or call me 609-514-2643 for more details.

Gov. Sanford Shows Why its Essential to be Honest with PR Team

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 24, 2009 by innovativemediapr

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s admission this afternoon of an extramarital affair was not only a tragic flaw in character, but a disservice to his public relations staffers that were left in the dark trying to cover for his disappearance.  His rambling press conference could be credited to a total lack of preparation for the tough questions that came at him, basically because his staff had no time to at all to properly prepare him. 

What Sanford did was not only betray his spouse but his public relations team as well.  For the past 4-5 days as doubts spread about his whereabouts his staff was left in the same position as the citizens of South Carolina, not knowing where Sanford was.  Then, once his Chief of Staff reached him he said he was on the Appalachian Trail.  This morning when landing in Atlanta, he admitted he was in Argentina but did not admit to the affair until his afternoon press conference.  At the event, he issued the following statement in regards to letting down his staff:

“I apologize to my staff,” Sanford said in a statement released after the 2 p.m. news conference. “I misled them about my whereabouts, and as a result the people of South Carolina believed something that wasn’t true. I want to make absolutely clear that over the past two days at no time did anyone on my staff intentionally relay false information to other state officials or the public at large. What they’ve said over the past two days they believed to be true, and I’m sorry to them for putting them in this position.”

Sanford’s plight should be a lesson to anyone in a position of authority, not just in government, but in business in general to make sure that they keep their public relations staffs in the know at all times. 

Sure, it may be essential to keep certain elements of a potential deal a secret for fear of it leaking out or in the case of a touchy personal situation like Sanford’s, concern about a personal embarrassment.  However, there is no excuse for lying to the individuals who have to ultimately put out the fires.

We live in a society that is now demanding transparency.  Executives with public relations teams need to recognize that this needs to extend to them for the communications process to work.

It is tough enough having to properly communicate a client’s message without the person or company we are communicating for setting us up for failure. 

Tom Cosentino

“Instant” Communications Dominate, But Shouldn’t Rule

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 23, 2009 by innovativemediapr

On Saturday, with the rain pouring down outside, I came back from an outing with my wife and turned on the television to follow the US Open.  In doing so, I also fired up my laptop and accessed Twitter. There, I was struck by a flurry of updates on the protests in the streets of Iran.  I then flipped back and forth on the television between Fox and CNN looking for updates.  What I found were both networks receiving their reportsin real time from Iranian citizens through Twitter and Facebook.  The rest of the evening showed how these social networks had totally surpassed the reporting of mainstream television because of the instantaneous access they provided. 

This instant  “fix” of news, although not vetted, verified or substantiated with sources, provided an insight into what was going on inside Iran.  With foreign news outlets barred from broadcasting, this was the closest we were getting to real time reporting.

Then on Monday while attending the final round of the US Open at Bethpage, I along with thousands of others, used a satellite radio given away by American Express, which provided instant access to the PGA Tour coverage of the Open on Sirius Satellite Radio.  This radio coverage made the event even more enjoyable for it gave fans an instant perspective into how the leaderboard was changing on the back nine by the shot.  It also showed just how much of a crowd favorite Pete Mickelson is in New York, as every big shot he made was greeted by loud cheers by fans listening in on the radios.

Although watching golf cannot be compared to watching protesters in a foreign country fight for their lives and freedom, it does show the need for instant access to information. 

We are now in an industry that allows us to provide instant communications on behalf of our clients to media and the general consumer.  The key is to use our experience as communications pros to properly vet what is being disseminated.  Not everything is news, despite what a client thinks, and not everything is something that a consumer wants instant access to.  

Tom Cosentino

Jared Cohen is First PR Hero of Iranian Crisis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 17, 2009 by innovativemediapr

The first PR hero of the Iranian election crisis is Jared Cohen, a 27-year-old State Department employee.  What did Cohen do?  He took the initiative to call executives at Twitterand ask them to postpone a planned maintenance check of the system that would have closed down the service.  This request was made specifically to give Iranian citizens a chance to Tweet updates to the outside world, as the government continued its crackdown of western news reports.

Media Bistro’s BayNewser has a great profile of Cohen today.  Cohen is employed by the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff specifically to advise the US government on how to use social media to communicate in the Middle East.  A Rhodes Scholar from Oxford, Cohen was 24 when he visited the Middle East and was profiled in a story in the New Yorker.  He later wrote a book of his experiences, titled Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East.

What Cohen did was showcase the importance of social media to deliver a message in a time of crisis.  While media can be locked up, have their cameras taken away and prohibited from broadcasting through normal channels, the power of the internet to transmit the  truth is something that is almost impossible to stop.

In the long run, what Cohen did may ultimately be forgotten or may not matter in the eventual outcome of the Iranian election. However, that phone call to Twitter on behalf of the United States Government certainly acknowledged the power of this social media resource. 

Twitter most likely will be replaced by a new social media tool, but what will not change is the role of the communicator in the process. 

Those communicators that adapt to the new technologies and tools will be able to deliver their message on behalf of clients, companies or even governments, regardless of the situation facing them.

Jared Cohen took the initiative to ensure that an important communications tool remained available to citizens of another country in time of crisis.

Are we as communicators taking the initiative to ensure that we are using all of the tools available on behalf of our clients and companies?

Tom Cosentino

Is Pooling of News Resources Bad Or Good News for PR?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 10, 2009 by innovativemediapr

It started in January in Philadelphia when Fox launched the Local News Service, an opportunity for local news organizations to pool camera resources to cover locally scheduled news events like press conferences, parades, street festivals, etc..  The Local News Service concept has since expanded to Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit, Tampa-St. Pete, New York and Washington D.C.

The Local News Service is a direct result of dwindling advertising revenue for local affiliate news networks that has caused severe budget cutbacks necessitating layoffs of photographers and other news resources.

A couple of weeks ago I lamented in this blog the problems dealing with what I termed, “Assignment Desk Hell, ”  and the frustration of trying to get a network affiliate news camera to cover a local event. 

Could a Local News Service make planning a publicity event easier?  I think there are definitely pros and cons to this.  If you are scheduling a press conference then the normal procedure of getting it listed on the AP Daybook and sending the advisory out to the local news assignment desks would still apply.  However, the key would be reaching the assignment desk planner that is in charge of the pool crew for that given day. If the camera shows up, then you have a chance at having footage of your event placed on those affiliates that are part of the Local News Service in your market.

However, what this does is lesson the overall impact of your event, since you will only have sound bites and b-roll airing through this feed, with local anchors most likely voicing over commentary on the event.  What will be missing is having a television reporter present to do their own one-on-one interview, give perspective and make decisions on what other individuals they want to speak to regarding the news generated by the event.

Should the pool camera get tied up elsewhere, then you run the risk of losing any potential broadcast coverage from your event.  While this potential problem exists presently in the “hell” that is trying to get a crew assigment, it still takes control away for the most part, from local news producers and places it in the hands of one general assignment planner.  In a way, I feel this dilutes the overall news product.  I also feel it eliminates the overall identity of the individual news organizations.

Let’s face it, if every local news affiliate has the same shot and overall piece, what is the reason for turning the channel to one network over the other?  Basically, you can choose a network at random and see the same thing that is on all the other affiliates.

Paul Farhi, staff writer for the Washington Post commented extensively on this subject in a recent online chat:

Where’s this heading? Nowhere good, I’d say. A few marginal stations around the country have already abandoned local news, and more will. The creation of the Local News Service presupposes another possibility: the “simulcasting” of the same news by two former rivals. Someday, in other words, four competing broadcasts may become three, or two, or even one.

Not sure Paddy Chayefsky envisioned that prospect when he was writing “Network” way back when.

Can Local News pooling help PR coverage? In the short term, it may help, but I feel in the long term, it’s another blow to media relations. 

Tom Cosentino

LaRussa’s Twitter Lawsuit Prooves Need to Monitor the Social Space

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2009 by innovativemediapr

It was revealed yesterday that St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa  had filed a lawsuit against Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site.  The lawsuit cited trademark infringement and emotional duress caused by an imposter operating and posting tweets under the name Tony LaRussa on Twitter.

LaRussa is not the first sports celebrity to have an imposter represent them on the site.  This week’s issue of Sports Business Journal in its profile of the sports industry’s adoption of Twitter, lists several prominent executives that have pretenders on Twitter, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

The problem of Twitter allowing others to pose as prominent individuals is a scenario that needs to be rectified.  The LaRussa imposter was taken down following the filing of the lawsuit.

What such a situation points out is the necessity for brands, companies and individuals to protect their reputations online by closely monitoring what’s being said of them.  Parody has its place, but when it comes to a leading brand, or in this case, a successful major league baseball manager, one small joke can lead to a major problem that affects a company’s business or a person’s reputation.

Companies should closely monitor sites such as Twitter. The easiest way is to engage and become part of the community. This allows a company to control its own message and quickly negate any negative attacks from imposters.

As Dominos found out several weeks ago, there is no hiding once something becomes viral. 

You cannot pretend that what’s being said about your brand or yourself in social media settings will quickly disappear. Thus, by participating in the various online communities, assigning interns and staff to closely monitor what’s being said, and most of all, engaging with those that want to follow you online, you can correct misconceptions and refute negative reactions on your own terms.  While you can never control everything being said, it certainly is more beneficial to be part of the discussion at all times.

Tom Cosentino