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Bob Tippee, the editor of the Oil & Gas Journal had some interesting, if not eloquent, things to say in an Advertising Age opinion article published in the March 22nd issue. On the heels of winning a 2010 Crain Award, his words were directed to fellow newsmakers, however, I feel these are also wise words for PR pros.

On news and changes in news, Tippee wrote:

“My colleagues and I do what all news people do: hustle facts, write stories, and try to create linear intelligence out of the splendid mayhem of human activity — in our case a specific realm of human activity…We now compete in and contribute to a dimensionless yet expanding mass of information nobody wants to pay for…And let’s face facts: a lot of that information is duplicative, unfocused, and superficial. Why should anybody pay for it?”

And he offered this advice, “A news operation has to do more than mass-produce content; it must create intelligence,” with these bullet points following:

  • to report stories before the press releases appear … and stories about which no press releases will appear
  • to anticipate the questions professional readers ask and uncover and report the answers
  • to provide the background and context that make stories whole
  • to omit gloss and unnecessary decoration
  • to be prompt and brief

Tippee’s comment about stories for “which no press release will appear” is key. Despite the cliché, in my view, this is about connecting dots. For PR professionals that are voracious readers, this will come naturally and you’ll be able to speak to the new influencers about your causes in a higher level of context — or as Tippee says, with “intelligence.” Perhaps this is what separates great PR pros from the ordinary.

Read Tippee’s full article here: It’s a Wonderful Time to Be in the B-to-B News Business

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Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

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2 Responses

  1. Margaret

    I've come to this pretty late, but I think Tippie's article is great insight into why most intelligent people ignore a lot of online and on-air news reports.

    Intelligence is way down the list of what TV, radio, and online"news" agencies are emphasizing today. You have to get past the celebrity and sports sagas and scandals to get to the day's real news headlines, and all you get are headlines, sound bites, and fluff.

    I'll take NPR and intelligent news analysis over "infotainment", thank you. Even the weekly "News" magazines like Time and Newsweek contain less "news meat" these days.

  2. Frank Strong, MA, MBA

    Hi Margaret, thanks for the comment. Indeed I tend to agree with your assessment, however, I'm not sure that a sense for entertainment and news are at complete odds. Even NPR tries to work in some humor, or a sense of the details through sound which keep the stories interesting, and perhaps enjoyable. This is of course a far cry from the scandals and celebs, as you've noted, which reminds me of a book I first read long ago: Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman. If you haven't read this, based on your comment here, I think you might find it worthwhile.

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