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The changing face of the BBC



When looking for news that I can rely on to be acutely accurate and up to date, I will hold my hands up and say I’m a BBC kinda gal. Some prefer Sky, other prefer the online version of their favourite newspaper. But for me, the BBC – with its outstanding journalists, familiar tone of voice and truly British identity – is the ‘go to’ place for what’s happening in the world right now.

But of late (perhaps slowly over the last 12 months or so), I’ve noticed its content change quite significantly. And I’ll admit – I was worried.  

We all know the mainstream media has had to alter its reporting style and subjects in order to meet the changing demands of the readers, who are typically more inclined to check social media than pick up a newspaper in order to get their daily dose of current affairs. And when the public is now – apparently – more interested in the latest celebrity gaff caught on camera than what their elected politician is doing to improve living conditions in their local area, it’s understandable – even if not comprehendible – that the majority of news outlets would alter their priorities to suit this.

If you were to click on to the BBC website right now, you’d say: ‘yeah, and the BBC is no different’. Yesterday alone, there were stories on the top jokes from the Golden Globes, a countdown of phrases we have Donald Trump to thank for and a link to a piece on how to get yourself to the gym. Synonymous with the longstanding commitment the BBC has made to explore the hardest-hitting, breaking news from around the world? No, and not what we expect from the stalwart of British reporting.

But do a comparison of these BBC articles and their counterparts elsewhere in the world, and the difference is automatically clear. Rather than egging on the story to take it to its next level, the BBC instead simply reports the fact that such a ridiculous story is news in the first place. Its coverage is almost tongue in cheek, as if it’s questioning why these matters are in fact news in the first place.

While truth and accuracy are constantly in disrepute in the media world, the BBC is standing strong in its ability to deliver the news we need to know, and challenge us on what we THINK we need to know.

And while readership figures continue to drop amongst the newspapers that have dominated our shelves for decades, if, like me, you’re a BBC kinda gal, you’re probably going to stay that way for a very long time.

 

 

Tagged with: BBC, News, PR, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Glastonbury – The Ultimate PR Win



Last month I left my real life at Manchester PR agency, Refresh, behind to spend five nights sleeping in a tent, while getting up close and personal with thousands of people who hadn’t washed in a few days – that’s right, I went to Glastonbury.

Anyone who hasn’t made the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm may read that opening paragraph and shudder with dread, but those who have experienced the magic of Glastonbury will be nodding along, knowing that those things that would usually fill people with fear are all part of the experience.

Where else can you crawl down a rabbit hole and party with Brad Pitt (apparently he was there, although I didn’t see him), watch films in a fleet of vintage cars, see circus performers at 1am – not to mention the music?

From secret acts and unknown musicians to the Foo Fighters finally headlining the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury offers something unique – which is why tickets can be harder to get your hands on than Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.

And each year around October time there are newspaper articles about how the festival has sold out in record time, with countless fans turning to social media to complain if they were unsuccessful or to celebrate their excitement if they were one of the lucky ones.

And as a PR professional I can see why this record speed growth and demand is occurring – the ultimate PR coverage – the BBC!

Due to the BBC’s regulations, the corporation isn’t a PR’s best friend – they have to remain impartial and not to be seen to be advertising brands, yet they give unrivalled coverage to this incredible event each year.

Returning from Glastonbury you are greeted with friends and colleagues who tell you which sets they watched on TV and how they have to go next year. And of course, who wouldn’t be swayed when they see thousands of people singing along to rock anthems or disco classics in a place so unique, you can’t describe it to someone who hasn’t been. Even whispers of “I’ve been to other festivals” have Glastonbury veterans’ eyes rolling – it simply isn’t the same.

The BBC’s coverage captures this perfectly and is therefore the ultimate PR dream – radio, TV, on-demand service, online – a huge achievement for any creative campaign.

If we need to measure this impact, let’s check back in October 2018 and see if tickets take longer than 50 minutes to sell out. Watch this space…

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: BBC, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, festivals, Lifestyle, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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'Talent follows talent' - delving into Manchester's Media scene



Undoubtedly, Manchester has been a hotbed of media activity for the last five years.

With the announcement of Media City in 2004 and the arrival of the BBC in 2011, the city has rarely been out of the spotlight – with critics split over the merits of our northern town!

A proud Mancunian myself, I was keen to hear the thoughts of some of the creative industry’s most influential figures at the Insider Business of Media conference.

Held at The Lowry on 19th September, the event was chaired and hosted by North West Insider’s editor, Chris Maguire.

Senior figures from the BBC, ITV and Westminster City Council were among the esteemed list of speakers, with the conference itself broken down into five sections entitled Vision; MediaCity; Showcasing the North West; Challenges; and An Audience With.

The first of the five sections focused on the future vision of business in the North West and was overseen by Sara Tomkins (Manchester City Council), Sue Woodward (The Sharp Project) and Kevin McManus (Liverpool Vision).

An insightful session, it was clear Manchester has a much more secure business network than that of Liverpool. Whether this was an accurate assumption or not, it was certainly the impression I got from the Q&As.

This opinion was only further strengthened by the introduction of Sue Woodward, who is the director of The Sharp Project in Manchester. A charismatic speaker, Sue has clearly spent the majority of her career carving the way for creativity in the North West. Keen to introduce more initiatives, Sue believes creativity cannot be shoehorned into one space – for it to flourish, it needs lots of little areas so it can grow and develop organically.

One of the key objectives that came out of the session was the announcement from Sara Tomkins that Manchester City Council is aiming to provide free public Wi-Fi by Christmas of this year. It seems to me an ambitious goal, but as I know little of digital workings I shall watch and wait in anticipation!

Another interesting point that was raised was the age at which young people should be exposed to their future career options. The general consensus was that we should be connecting with the 12 year olds of this generation and not the 22 year olds – as they are the ones who are capable of embracing the new technology. I believe the cycle of changing attitudes towards technological advancements needs to go much higher before it can fall on the 12 year olds of today. We must embrace change and pave the way for a younger generation.

A powerful and informative session, it seems Manchester is leading the way for digital innovation in the north – if not the UK. With new initiatives designed to improve scope for SMEs and young talent rising through the ranks, Manchester is sure to see some exciting developments over the next 12 months.

In my next post I will be delving into the complex issue of BBC North, ITV and ‘that move’ to Manchester!

 

Tagged with: BBC, Manchester, Media City, PR, Salford