Just Who or What Is `Mainstream Media’?

Lately, there has been much discussion and debate on my Medill School of Journalism alumni list-serv about what constitutes “mainstream media.”

Of course, the phrase is often used in the context of claims that the aforementioned nebulous institution is biased, out-of-touch and worthy of tongue-lashings from all quarters.

On a related note, someone recently got huffy with Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter Out source-and-storyteller matching service. The reason they unsubscribed from his so-called HARO: he was including too many source requests from bloggers in his thrice-daily (Monday-Friday) outreach.

To me, much of it shakes out thusly: what influence and impact does a given entity–whether it’s a person, a website, an organization, or whatever–have on your target audience?

In some cases, a blog with a relatively small, but intensely interested, passionate and motivated following, can represent a much better and more relevant “hit” than a national publication with a huge, but diffuse, reach.

Anyone seeking to increase their sales, their profile, or otherwise attain a goal needs to intelligently assess the entire landscape of communications outlets–and it’s growing bigger and murkier by the hour–and then make thoughtful decisions about where to devote its story-telling resources.

Today’s mainstream may well be tomorrow’s footnote, and today’s alternative media may well be tomorrow’s mainstream.

Terminology aside, if you’re a publicist, this is my bottom line: If your media outreach list isn’t constantly evolving, then you’re not paying nearly enough attention.

Tennis Player Outreach Nets Coverage

I had a post on Friday regarding my media outreach about a 12-year-old tennis player named Jordan Belga who trains at Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, Ill.

On Saturday came this Daily Herald feature, which included an interview with Jordan’s coach, Five Seasons tennis pro Jacek Dabrowski.

It doesn’t always work out so nicely. In this case, fortunately, the Daily Herald opted to devote some attention to the club where Jordan has developed his game to the point of being rated No. 1 in the nation. Of course, it helped that when the reporter spoke with Jordan, he talked about Jacek–among other things, sharing that he texted his coach upon learning he’d gained the top spot.

One last note, and something that publicist Peter Shankman taught me through his book, Can We Do That?: Sharing Jacek’s number with the media is important, but sources must be coached to be responsive.

When Jacek tipped me off to Jordan’s No. 1 ranking on Thursday, I reminded him to be ready for phone calls from unfamiliar phone numbers (the media)–and to pick ’em up, if at all possible.

Peter Shankman, One HARO-ic PR Force

A quick public service/public relations service message today:

If you are in the PR business–or even if you’re not–you should know about Peter Shankman.

You may recall a previous post in which I credited Shankman with inspiring my idea for the U.S. Department of XS Energy.

This year, in particular, Shankman has shown why he is a creative force to be reckoned with. Perhaps his biggest endeavor has been extending his reach with Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, a service that matches journalists with sources and has ProfNet quaking in its stale boots.

I recently wrote a review of Shankman’s book, Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work–And Why Your Company Needs Them.

Go here to check it out.