Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's all about the media

Reflecting on Guto Harri's appointment as Communication Advisor to new Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a former BBC journalist and PR policy advisor; It is interesting that many of the top communication advisors in politics have a background in the media. It seems the skills of the journalist the receiver are most sought, rather than in public relations, advertising, marketing or the more outward facing corporate communication. While there is a lot of cross-over between the journalism and PR particularly, it would seem that the journalist (Alastair Campbell, Bernard Ingham etc, etc) and the knowledge of how the media operates as well as the contacts, is what politicians think they need most. While Harri is an exception perhaps, I wonder if journalists are the right advisors. Journalism has a whole set of norms that politicians must work with and adapt to, but other profession's skills may be more able to advise on how to communicate to and interact with the public effectively - just a thought!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seen your post about media advisers and I completely agree - One personal example fits your point well. I always saw myself as a PR/comms man, not a media man, even when dealing with the media. And the best way I can explain it is that I used to occasionally employ a working journalist to do some work for me. Most of it was copywriting, but now and again I would let him lose on the media stuff, especially if I was out of town. What he was interested in was the amount of publicity a story achieved, not whether it was the best thing for us to do. It is a clear different mentality. That's not to say ex-journos can't do the job well, but many of them have the wrong mental approach a result of their long years of training. Some address the story and not the problem/opportunity behind it.