PR Campaigns – The blog

February 23, 2009

Paying for news?

Filed under: Fidelis — jsaxarra @ 11:41 am
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In Tim McGuire’s Business & Future of Journalism class, there was a discussion about how much people are willing to pay for their news. The debating ranged everywhere; from full subscribers to micropayments, down to no payments at all. I suppose, for the record, I should say that I was definitely one of the ones who WOULDN’T pay.

Regardless, I ran across a blog covering this exact debate. Actually, the argument is geared toward the potential use of a micropayment system from an article previously written in Time. It states that people are increasingly reading online content and surprisingly, traditional journalism is more popular than ever. The problem is that it’s essentially being given away and subscriptions are at a low…what a shocker.

Walter Isaacson, the article’s author, recommends the use of micropayments [combined with advertising] as a way to prevent traditional journalism from completely crumbling. Even the author of the blog caved and eventually agreed with this. But I still don’t buy it.

I honestly cannot see how the implementation of a very small fee (be it per click/article/download/etc.) could save an entire industry. Maybe save is too big of a word. Well I still don’t see how it could further stimulate an entire industry and one that’s been around forever, mind you. I’m fully aware of the whole, “Why should I vote, it doesn’t even matter…” question that is often counter-argued with, “If EVERYONE said that, it would make a difference!” but I’m still not sold.

Why, during our country’s horrid economic status, would the majority of people pay a nickel here, a couple bucks there for an article? I emphasize the majority because I know that some people will pay for anything. And by some, I mean a lot. I just can’t see it being enough. Jobs are being lost left and right, while others have yet to even enter the working-world. Competition is extremely stiff, as it should be, and it’s not just stopping at who can get hired first.

The fact is, someone will present the news for free. It is inevitable. All it takes is for that someone to be holding true name, or brand, recognition and micropayments will become obsolete. Traditional journalism fuels online content, and I don’t think papers will die off [for awhile] but we rely so heavily on the digital transformation. It’s not a stretch to think someone will pay and make the content available via BitTorrent for others to access. That doesn’t even come close to a big name company presenting it for free and yet it covers thousands, even millions, of online users.

Yes, people will pay, but it’s probably the same amount of people who bought any MP3 player that wasn’t an iPod.

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November 27, 2008

Big Three Bailout: What about your consumers?

Filed under: The Agency — bkranz @ 9:50 pm
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I’m sure I’m not the only American sick and tired of hearing the phrase “bailout” repeatedly throughout the day. In these harsh economic times, it’s nearly impossible to escape it. For lack of a better way to describe it, I don’t get along with numbers well (I’m a journalism student, I can’t help it). In an effort to better understand the whole “bailout” issue, I went googling and came across an article on PRWeek.com about the automobile industry and the bailout they are trying to convince the government they need. “Big Three can learn from comms mistakes” talks about Ford, GM, and Chrysler and their economic issues.

The issue seems to be that while the “Big Three” is asking for an enormous amount of money to fix the problems they are facing, the companies are lacking in communication with their most important customers, those living in Middle America. Instead of communicating with the public as to what they need the money for and how it will be used to their advantage, the Big Three has avoided communication and instead the CEOs are traveling by private planes to meetings. If you are in such deep economic trouble, why would you choose to fly private instead of commercial like the rest of the country?

For someone who doesn’t understand money in the greatest sense (I’m not naive, I just don’t do economics), this makes less sense than calculating supply and demand curves. If you want to entrust the people of the country as well as the government with saving the financial well-being of your corporation, why would you not communicate those goals? I am a Ford driver, I have heard nothing of the issues they face. I’m not about to support a bailout that is going to drive our economy further into oblivion if I don’t know why it’s happening. I’m usually quite satisfied with Ford, but after reading this article, I’m more than a little annoyed.

I think this is definitely a PR issue considering communication is at the forefront of it. What do you think? Should corporations be asking for help without going into detail about their troubles? Should we just assume that they will be doing the right thing with our money? I find it difficult to believe anyone would think that, but I’m interested to hear what others think.

October 16, 2008

A silver lining in uncertain times?

Filed under: ABC PR,Uncategorized — ccharvey @ 6:46 pm
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Everywhere I turn I seem to hear discussions about the poor economy and how unfortunate we are to graduate at a time when the economy is changing for the worse and good jobs are hard to come by. This concept is especially true while majoring in PR, in a field that many people and companies have yet to fully recognize.  I kept those slightly disturbing thoughts in the back of my mind until I came across this article in PRWeek, Down economy is PR’s time to shine by Shannon Troughton, the VP of PR at WellPoint.  Thoughton’s assertion is based on an article she read in the Economist that suggests marketing and communication budgets are the first ones to be eliminated. This can be both a postive and a negative if companies use PR correctly.

Troughton suggests that during the time of a poor economy, company image becomes significantly more important so that the company survives. Who would be better at maintaining a positive image of a company than a PR professional? They are trained skilled and are significantly cheaper than purchasing ad space on TV or in print media.  She suggests that PR professionals can “offer inexpensive but valuable ways to promote products, initiates, and executives.”  She includes blogging, press releases and editorials in her boasting of PR. That being said, a smart company is a company that will maintain a strong PR department so that the company can stay strong and survive economic hardships. Do you think that this will make companies notice how crucial PR can be for them and their image? 

Is this the big break that the PR industry has been waiting for to prove their worth? Or should we stay in school and hope the economy gets better when we all have graduate degrees and communication budgets of companies are restored?

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