PR Blotter: December 2014

December 1, 2014

[blend images/corbis]
[blend images/corbis]

Brand reputation plays a big role in determining if someone trusts a news source, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Nov. 10.

Just because a person has heard of the source does not necessarily indicate that he or she goes to that same place for political news. For example, 80 percent of respondents said they had heard of The Washington Post, but only 8 percent had visited the site to read content in the past week.

Respondents who had heard of mainstream news sources like ABC, NBC and CBS — but did not get their news there — showed roughly equal expressions of trust and distrust.

However, regarding more politically leaning outlets like Rush Limbaugh and Al Jazeera America — which they were familiar with, but did not use as news sources — respondents had very high levels of distrust.

According to the research, friends’ opinions and other factors are more likely to influence credibility than news exposure.

“Non-personal communication  channels” are becoming more tech-driven for American adults.

In a poll that Gallup released on Nov. 10, nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults said they use text messages, cellphone calls and email “a lot” to communicate, while less than 10 percent said the same about home phones or communicating via Twitter. Those ages 50 and younger communicate primarily by text messaging, whereas people ages 65 and older prefer cellphones, landlines and email.

However, overall non-personal communication occurs less frequently in older age groups. Cellphone calls are most common, but only 18 percent of the 65-and-up age group uses this method.

This means that younger generations are not only more likely to use the newer technological means for communicating, but are also more prone to stay in touch with others.

Despite hoopla over the role of so-called “big data” in marketing and politics, the techniques for gathering and analyzing huge amounts of consumer and voter information might not have helped much in the 2014 midterm elections.

As The Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 9, Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina used groundbreaking data analysis and a large volunteer network to boost voter turnout in counties where the Democrats needed to win statewide races, but still fell short in her bid for re-election.

While campaigns have become more sophisticated in targeting voters, the broader political environment — such as the economy and President Obama’s low approval ratings — still affects an election’s outcome more than even the best-oiled turnout machine.

PRSA’s New York and Los Angeles Chapters hosted the first bicoastal media Google Plus Hangout on Nov. 13.  A panel of entertainment journalists agreed that the best thing that PR professionals can do when pitching journalists is to fully understand what the reporter’s publication covers and tailor their proposals accordingly.

“The most effective pitch conveys a sense that the publicist knows what I write about and what I’m interested in,” said Andrew Wallenstein, co-editor-in-chief of Variety. “If you come to me with something that reflects those interests, at the very least, I’ll get back to you because I see that you’ve taken the time to take me seriously.”

One out of seven millennials said they prefer to text fellow employees at work rather than use other communications, according to a Bentley University survey. While most HR manuals don’t cover texting, experts agreed that it’s best to “keep it brief and know when to kill it.”

Oxford Dictionaries dubbed “vape” as the 2014 word of the year. Originally an abbreviation of “vapor” or “vaporize,” the verb means to “inhale or exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.” Vape beat out contenders such as “bae,” “budtender,” “contactless,” “indyref,” “normcore” and “slacktivism.”


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