Archive for September, 2010

Tom Cosentino, iMedia President, Joins WISE Mentor Program

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 22, 2010 by innovativemediapr

As one who has always  valued the mentoring he received from some great public relations professionals early in my career and enjoyed teaching young professionals, it is with great pride to know that I have been selected by the Women in Sports and Events (WISE), to be a mentor in their signature program WISE Within.

WISE is the leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports and events. Its unique vision empowers WISE to celebrate and connect emerging and established women leaders, to promote one another in career growth and continue to change the face of the sports industry.

On October 13 at an event in New York City, I will find out the women sports executive that I will have the opportunity to work with over the next year as a mentor.  I’m looking forward to seeing who that individual will be and hoping that in some small way, I will be able to instill some of the knowledge I’ve learned over the years from my own experiences and that of others.

The sports industry has certainly changed over the years and there are a myriad of female executives now excelling and playing major roles in shaping the future of companies in all facets of sports. 

WISE Within gives dedicated mid-level professional women valuable access to senior-level executives who can share knowledge and experience, and provides mentors the opportunity to give back to women in the industry by guiding and nurturing the next generation of leaders.

My hope is not only to provide advice and counsel, but by listening to my mentee and learning of the challenges they face, actually learn and grow from the experience as well.

Tom Cosentino

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Players and TV Execs Need to Respect Women Reporters

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by innovativemediapr

The boorish and sexist behavior of New York Jets players towards TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz last Saturday clearly shows that there is still a long way to go for female sports journalists to be accepted as just reporters by players in professional sports.  However, the blame game should not just be placed at the hands of the Jets players and other professional and collegiate athletes for that matter, but also on the shoulders of corporate television executives that help foster such reactions.

All companies today must be sensitive to placing employees in situations that can lead to sexual harassment.  A high profile scenario involving a professional sports franchise helps in creating additional awareness for the need to educate the workforce to the sensitivities of sexual harassment.

Network executives should be conscious of this fact.  Is it  just a coincidence that every regional network –televised major league baseball and college football game now has a young, attractive female reporter doing sideline or between innings reports?  Are they really there because of their knowledge of the game and ability as broadcasters or as a pretty face meant to attract more male viewers?   Networks should make sure that these female reporters are protected and also placed into situations because of their skills as broadcasters and not just to be an attractive side attraction for the viewing audience.

Sure sports television is entertainment.  It also is formulaic.  Once one network does something, the others follow suit. Thus, we are now blessed with nightly inane reports from the stands during major league baseball games, just so a female reporter can be featured.  At times, there is news that comes out of it.  I watch the nightly games on Yes Network and see Kimberly Jones’ reports each night. Jones is a solid reporter who honed her skills as an NFL beat writer for the Newark Star Ledger and still does so.  She is able to offer perspective from the clubhouse but is often placed in situations that really have no relevance on the game, like having someone take a bite out of the pork chop on a stick that she held earlier this year at a game in Minnesota.   Nancy Newman, who anchors for Yes, is another solid professional, who is a good field reporter as well.  Suzyn Waldman, the Yankees radio voice who made history last year by being the first female broadcaster to announce a World Series Game, is a pioneer for women journalists.  She worked tirelessly through the years to establish herself as a reporter, crediting the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for giving her the opportunity. She had to first convince him that she merited acceptance as a beat reporter. Later on, he gave her the chance as a broadcaster.

Ines Sainz deserved better from the Jets. She also deserves to be placed into better situations by her network.  As more females enter the sports broadcasting field, they too should demand to be treated better by their producers and network executives.  Women sports broadcasting pioneers like Waldman, Lesley Visser and others, did not work countless games and scurry around hundreds of locker rooms looking for stories, in order for a new generation of female broadcasters to be placed in positions just to be seen. 

This is 2010. There’s still a need for journalistic ethics.  It’s time to reinforce the need for respect from not just the players, the adult audience at home, but the executives in the C-Suite as well.

Tom Cosentino

Public Relations is Still Best Tool in Bad Economy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 3, 2010 by innovativemediapr

The new jobs report is out and non-farm payrolls featured another 54,000 layoffs and the unemployment rate is now 9.6%.  Talk about a perfect lead-in to the Labor Day Weekend. As companies continue to tighten their belts, especially small business owners, one tool that can help them sustain and grow their businesses is public relations.  Sure, it’s essential for a business owner to step back and conserve cash flow in times of economic distress. However, not taking advantage of engagement with the customer through the many tactical elements of public relations is foolish and can lead to further business losses. The time to use the power of public relations is now.

If you are a small business owner with a restaurant, store or online sales site, you cannot wait for the customer to come to you and learn about your specialty. You have to directly reach out to them.

The tools are there.  Build relationships with your community newspapers by targeting newsworthy press releases about current issues that may affect your business and/or serving as a resource for media covering topics that concern your industry.

Make sure you know your customers and stay in front of them, using them as your brand ambassadors in the community.  Whether it’s developing a newsletter, sending updates to your customers through email or using Facebook and Twitter to provide updates on your business, if you’re not doing it, you can be that your competitors are.

Many small business owners confuse advertising with public relations.  They equate an advertisement in their local newspaper or on cable television as public relations.  That is not the case. Through public relations, businesses earn their way into the media.  This third-party endorsement by a media entity through a story about your business, television feature or quotes from you the owner as an expert, validates a company in the eyes of consumers. Your business becomes more credible in the eyes of a consumer.

There are multiple ways for a small business to garner media exposure. One way is by sponsoring a seminar for the public. This helps position you, the owner as an expert in your field and showcases your business.  Financial planners, tax experts, wedding planners, authors, etc. are examples of businesses that use this tactic successfully.

Another tactic is the press release.  This must provide news.  Media will not use it unless there is a news hook.  Thus, businesses looking to write a press release should first look at what message they plan to deliver with the release.  Is it announcing a new hire, a new product or event? If so, that’s an example of news.  If it’s just tooting your horn that you’re open for business, then you need to craft that into an advertisement.

Read and watch what your local television news outlets are covering. Often there are consumer reporters at these outlets.  This can be an opportunity to serve as an expert in your business category.  Also, most markets have morning news programs.  These shows are always looking for guests that can speak to trends, new products, seasonal issues, etc.  For example, iMedia represents the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors and has been positioning the backpack safety tips they developed as news hooks for local television, radio and print interviews in the region, offering local chiropractors to speak to the subject of protecting children from the stress of carrying too much weight in their backpacks.

Public relations can deliver your message across multiple platforms and provide tremendous value and ROI for your business.  Don’t forsake this opportunity in times of economic troubles. Instead, use public relations as the tool to get you through the crisis and help your business grow.

Tom Cosentino