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Top Takeaways from Media Relations Summit

One of the aspects that I can appreciate about Rochester is the media community. As a public relations professional, I’ve learned that building and cultivating relationships with media professionals will make my job easier. It’s helpful to understand how to make the most out of said relationships, which is why the PRSA Rochester Media Relations Summit was such a valuable event. It was a chance for both media and PR professionals to learn from each other, an opportunity rarely afforded elsewhere.

The “Meet the Media” session kicked off the Media Relations Summit. Todd Clausen, Democrat & Chronicle; Veronica Volk, WXXI and Keegan Trunick, News 8 shared what they need from PR professionals to create the content that engages their audiences.

The media landscape has evolved and so has the expectations of an audience. It was unanimous amongst the group that video is an essential component to telling a story. Media professionals, much like PR professionals have developed into multi-skilled pros, by shooting and editing their own video, writing, and managing social media for their stories.

Despite the new expectations of our audiences, the elements that make a story newsworthy are still the same. I learned quite a bit from Todd, Veronica and Keegan, but the most important thing that I learned is that media and PR professionals have the same goal: to tell a story.

John O’Malley, PR Manager at Verizon, recently transitioned from Rochester (small market) to Philadelphia (large market). His session highlighted the best ways that PR pros can start to build relationships with the media and other PR professionals, especially being new to an area. Inviting a colleague for coffee was one of John’s tips that stayed with me. No one can turn down coffee, worst case scenario is they’ll suggest tea instead.

During the final session, “PR vs. Journalism,” we heard from both PR professionals and media which was a helpful contrast from the first session. Dresden Engle, director of Dresden Public Relations; Sarah Blackwell, PR and marketing specialist at Break the Ice Media; Megan Mack, Connections producer at WXXI; Jane Milliman, editor-in-chief of 585 Magazine shared horror stories and triumphs to illustrate how a relationship between a media and PR professional can be great or sour.

The media appreciates when we do our research and pitch them stories that are relevant to their audience. In return, we appreciate when they understand that we have to exceed the expectations of our clients.

At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to do our jobs and the overarching goal is that we all can do so successfully. 

Laquanda M. Fields is a senior public relations student at The College at Brockport and a current intern at Text100. She was also on the winning team of the 2015 PR Apprentice Program. Find her on Twitter @laquandam_ or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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