In PR you neglect local and trade media at your peril

Written by Jim Walsh

Usually it is a case of underestimating the influence of the media in question or an ego issue where the belief is that only national media is important.

What is often not understood by those who show a level of impatience at having to engage with local or trade media is that the media influence can stretch far beyond the primary local or trade audience.

The consolidation of the media in recent years means that broadcasters and publications within the same group now frequently share content. And of course with most traditional media having online versions information is available far beyond the primary audience.

This week there has been a very good example with the announcement that Dee Forbes is to be appointed Director-General of RTE the Irish state broadcaster. Dee who? That was probably the question asked by many outside the media world, and even some inside.

Some senior executives in RTE were quoted as being surprised at her appointment. That would be because of the speculation in recent months that the job would go to an internal candidate and probably someone with programme making experience. She is the first person from outside the organisation that has been appointed to the position in almost 50 years and her professional background has been on the commercial side of international broadcasting.

But she is well known in Drimoleague in west Cork where the local newspaper, the Southern Star has published a number of stories about her business career. These stories have obviously been a source for some national media reporting on her appointment to RTE.

The Southern Star stories have all been positive but had they not then the national reporting might have been different.

In a crisis situation for example local and trade media can be a rich source of information for national media or international media descending on wherever the person or organisation in the eye of the storm is located.

If your local or trade media has not looked too kindly on your business in the past you can be sure that will come back to haunt you.  You may be really sorry that you didn’t pay more attention to ensuring that they were an important stakeholder in your communications programme.

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