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By Jeff Meerman, APR – Posted: April 15, 2021

There’s absolutely no denying the news media continues to be one of the most trusted sources of accurate and credible information in normal times and especially during a crisis. This is something we witnessed during the pandemic, along with the rise of new independent media sources. 

However, we can’t ignore the frightening regularity of another round of newsroom layoffs at traditional newspapers and broadcasters as their ad revenues decline.

For communicators, this is always concerning – these are people we work with daily and the loss is often personal. It also makes our jobs harder. Some of us began our careers in the news media, while others began in media relations working with reporters to share news and story ideas, but more importantly to get vital information to intended publics.

So with a widening void in the media market, how can public relations professionals continue to tell their stories with the same flair and credibility as traditional news organizations?

Many organizations, both small and large, are stepping up by hiring former news people and training public relations employees to tell their own stories and by using in-house channels to deliver those stories to the audiences that matter – their own stakeholders. In fact, there’s never been a better time to tell your own stories with the digital channels now available.

Of course, this opportunity comes with the continued responsibility to ensure the communications function is carefully managed and adheres to the highest standards of honesty, accuracy, truth and integrity. And don’t forget news judgement, the lead and putting the most important information at the top of the story, in case the reader only reads the first sentence. 

Here are just a few examples of organizations that are telling their own stories, and doing so quite effectively, in my opinion.

Vancouver Coastal Health:

During a rise in COVID-19 cases in young adults, the health authority took to its TikTok account to reach this important demographic by sharing fun and engaging content to deliver a critical message to help change behaviour. A spillover effect was coverage by many media outlets including Global News.

TD Bank:

If you explore the bank’s TD Newsroom, you’ll see a wealth of rich content including advice, insights and human interest stories. This is good for the organization and useful for reporters too. The best part, all these stories are shareable through social media, helping to amplify the message.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines:

One of my favourites is KLM’s “Intern on a Mission” where a social media intern went about finding everything there is to know about the company and sharing those experiences – everything from flying a plane to repairs to baggage handling – through the company’s YouTube channel. The content was interesting, entertaining and educational. More importantly, it helps to get the watcher excited about going on a trip with the airline. 

So aside from the standard news release or media pitch, put yourself in the reporter’s shoes and start pumping out those stories. You’re now on deadline!