7th December 2017

Networking with the Nationals at December’s PUBlic Relations Event


Anyone familiar with Absolutely Fabulous will be aware of the running joke that many public relations events are held in a bar and full of fluff – but last night’s PUBlic Relations Oxford event, which I attended, was a great example of how a set of fantastic guest speakers and a willing exchange of ideas can challenge the stereotype.

The guest speakers in question where Alan Rusbridger, former Editor of The Guardian, and Ceri Thomas, former Editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC One’s Panorama. The topic at hand was the changing face of media, and what it means for PR. In particular, we discussed how media providers can deliver trustworthy content through digital channels build brand trust.

If What’s App is the platform that 20-somethings communicate on most frequently then why wouldn’t media producers push stories through this medium – other than the fact it is a less glamorous way of presenting news than traditional print? The answer is perhaps a commercial one.

More and more, national papers are opting to install a paywall. However, if anything can be learnt from The Sun’s 18-month, money-pit, foray into this territory, media providers do so at their own risk. After all, paywalls can alienate both print and online audiences and social media content creation will always favour an accessible link, even if the source is less trustworthy. And yet, good journalism doesn’t come for free.

Putting aside the intriguing viewpoints offered by Rusbridger and Thomas and the other attendees, the event was a case in point of how valuable networking can be. The opportunity to hear fresh ideas and be able to digest the evolving world of PR should be convincing enough… but to be able to couple this with a glass of wine is simply fabulous, Darling.

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