Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for March 2004

Blogs and Journalism the debate continues…

If you’re working with the media (and I’m sure many of you are) then it’s always useful  to keep a watching brief on developments that impact the media and their audiences.

Bloggercon, a weblog think-tank event taking place on April 17th in Massachusetts, is including a session entitled “What is journalism”.

The session is being hosted by Jay Rosen and in preparation (and in true blog tradition) he’s written an essay “No one owns journalism” and has invited feedback to help shape the actual session itself.

The essay is an interesting discourse and the lively discussion in the comments section is worth the click alone.

What does this mean for Public Relations practitioners? 

Well I believe our job is to communicate effectively with our clients’ target audiences. 

If the most effective means of communication is to knock on their door and have a cup of coffee with them, then we should do it.  If we need to reach a wider selection of people then we use another outlet, be it traditional journalists, bloggers, industry organizations, online conferences etc. or a combination.

Personally speaking,  I don’t consider bloggers – with a few notable exceptions – as journalists at this time. I do consider bloggers as an important audience and/or outlet, but in my mind they are not “journalists” in any traditional sense.

Blogging reaches out to its audience in a different manner than traditional journalism.  The fact that bloggers are rarely shackled by the traditional conventions of journalism is a strength and at the same time a weakness.

I believe that the most important lesson for PR practitioners is pragmatism coupled with common sense.  Your job is to communicate in the most effective manner possible. Your expertise is in understanding how best to communicate with an audience in terms of the best media outlet and the best tools for the job. This is why we should garner a deep understanding and appreciation of blogging without losing sight of the fact that traditional media isn’t going anywhere and will continue to constitute the majority of our time and resources for the foreseeable future.


For some great thoughts on this whole area (and broader issues as well) check out Dan Gillmor’s book in progress: “Making the News” – a draft of Chapter six is now online.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the evolution of journalism you should read the American Press Institute’s “thinking paper” We Media.

Also have a read of Jon Udell’s excellent overview of how blogs and journalism intersect in his day to day job.


Written by Tom Murphy

March 31, 2004 at 3:25 pm

Posted in General

Don't believe a Word of it…

Some time ago I posted about the dangers of e-mailing or posting Microsoft Word documents. If you’re not careful, internal comments and revisions can be mistakenly included in the document which can be easily read by the recipient adding a whole new twist to your document.

Alcatel was one of the highest profile victims from a press release standpoint.

The wonder of the Internet is that any content you post can be viewed and examined easily, that’s why understanding how to present information online is so important. If you’re posting press information online use HTML and maybe offer the visitor the opportunity to download a PDF for printing purposes – but don’t use Microsoft Word.

It’s emerged that Microsoft have fallen foul of their own product in this regard. In the true Internet fashion Michael Zalewski has gone through the Microsoft Word documents on Microsoft’s own sites and has found some hilarious edits.

My two favorites are:

Finally, Microsoft is an enduring company that’s not going out of business (unlike many Linux vendors).

“Xbox is on track for an awesome European launch in fall 2001early 2002,”


Thanks for Trevor Cook and Jim Horton for the link. 

Jim has also linked to a free utility you can download from the Microsoft website to strip out comments – I still wouldn’t use Microsoft Word documents for websites.

Written by Tom Murphy

March 31, 2004 at 8:38 am

Posted in General

PR: the art of butt kissing?

Quick item.

Back in February I touched on the growing interest surrounding “social networking”.

The Linkedin service seems to be the most common vehicle for “networking requests”, but that’s just my experience to date.

However, I have spotted a disturbing trend.  These “hubs” have areas where people can commend your work and I’ve spotted a disturning trend of a few PR people writing fawning recommendations of media people…. Not sure I approve of that or if it’s to be recommended.

Nope, don’t like that.

Written by Tom Murphy

March 30, 2004 at 5:05 pm

Posted in General

PR's prominent role at Disney…

Marc Snyder points to a fascinating profile of Zenia Mucha, Disney’s colorful chief communications officer, in the LA Times (Free subscription).

Marc makes the point that, while her role as a close advisor to Michael Eisner is a great testimonial for PR, the fact she declined to be interviewed for the profile was less stellar.


As Marc also correctly points out, I was never on the Disney board, I’m not a playright, nor the Mayor of Pittsburgh. 

Written by Tom Murphy

March 30, 2004 at 4:49 pm

Posted in General

My favorite newspaper correction

Trevor Cook has spotted my favorite newspaper correction (PDF) in quite some time.


Written by Tom Murphy

March 30, 2004 at 4:37 pm

Posted in General

The journalism debate

Jay Rosen is hosting a session at Bloggercon on April 17 at 9am on “What is journalism”.

As a preamble to the session, Jay has written a “background” essay entitled “No One Owns Journalism”.

As PR professionals many of us are tightly involved in media relations, as a result I think it’s important we keep up to date with the latest

Written by Tom Murphy

March 30, 2004 at 8:57 am

Posted in General

Internet commerce keeps-a-growing

I’ve written quite a bit over the past few weeks about the “Internet reality distortion field” and the dangers of extrapolating online findings to the world at large, a-la Howard Dean.

However, away from the hype, the Internet is continuing to grow nicely.  Research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project has found that two thirds of online Americans have purchased products and services over the Internet, while Forrester estimates that $120 Billion worth of goods will be sold online this year.

Unfortunately it’s four years too late for the Internet boomers… c’est la vie.

The story in the New York Times has a lot of very interesting statistics if you’re interested in the changing online demographics.


Thanks to MarketingVox/MarketingWonk/Up2Speed for the link.

Pew Research also did some recent research on Blogs.

Written by Tom Murphy

March 30, 2004 at 8:43 am

Posted in General

The one stop source for all your PR blogging needs

Credit where it’s due to PR blogger Constantin Basturea who has put together the ultimate aggregated PR blog RSS feed using BlogDigger.


Written by Tom Murphy

March 30, 2004 at 8:23 am

Posted in General

Loads of PR advice

Bacon’s (nee Mediamap’s) monthly newsletter is out with tips on writing opinion articles, getting good speaker engagements, and Al Ries promoting the importance of PR.


Written by Tom Murphy

March 29, 2004 at 5:45 pm

Posted in General

RSS and the blogosphere

Kevin Dugan has been out evangelising RSS with PR Newswire’s Media Insider.

“RSS has a wide range of applications in public relations, from communications with employees and customers to keeping media posted on company news. RSS makes it much easier to track the large amounts of information available online.”


Written by Tom Murphy

March 25, 2004 at 8:15 am

Posted in General