All posts by Olivia Mora

CSR: Improving Media Literacy

By | Company Blog | No Comments

As part of our corporate social responsibility initiative (CSR), Liberty has been working towards improving media literacy and increasing general knowledge of the public relations field. Our two most recent efforts stem from both sides of the pond.

Liberty U.S. – Career Day

In April, Liberty U.S. hosted a career day for three students from West County Charter Middle School. They were originally unclear on what public relations was, but by the end of their visit, they were PR pros. Or at least aspiring ones!

The students’ visit started off with a pastry breakfast and a short discussion about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Originally, the students were unsure of what kind of job they wanted to apply for or field they wanted to explore when they were older. However, they loved the idea of living and working in San Francisco.

Following our career brainstorm, we gave the students a briefing on public relations including:

  • In-house vs. agency PR
  • Verticals within PR
  • Tasks of a public relations professional
  • Traits of an exceptional public relations professional
  • The “traditional” PR career path

Our goal throughout career day was to touch on the importance of media literacy and teach the students about rhetoric and word choice. The students were both attentive and interested in the knowledge shared and walked away knowing that public relations professionals can be found in any industry (and that we eat a lot of pastries)!

 

Liberty UK – PR Workshops

At Liberty, we strive to engage people with our work, which is why our second initiative, which was held today in London was the first in a series of free creative workshops focused on helping businesses understand a little more about how PR can help them.

The workshop was a great success so it’s something we aim to continue on a more regular basis on both sides of the pond. Watch this space for more information but if you have any questions in the meantime or would like to hear more, drop us a line at info@libertycomms.com We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

A Public Relations View on the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Scandal

By | Company Blog | No Comments

About the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal:

In late 2015, Facebook learned about a data breach involving Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis and strategic communications company. A university professor created an app on Facebook that asked users who downloaded it a series of questions. Unbeknownst to users, once signed up, the app accessed their list of friends and other parts of their profiles including email, birthday, education, and photos. This app would end up compiling data on over 50 million Facebook users. Eventually, Cambridge Analytica came upon the results from the app’s survey. What happens next with the data is still speculation, but the end result was not good for the social media network.

After Facebook was notified about this, it requested that both the third-party app and Cambridge Analytica must delete the data – which they later learned was never deleted. The incident sparked national news last week when The New York Times and The Guardian published articles that raised controversy about the now infamous data analysis firm, Cambridge Analytica, claiming that the data was possibly used to influence the 2016 United States presidential election.

From a PR point of view:

Politics aside, the Cambridge Analytica data breach has put the social media giant under public scrutiny. This situation brings up ethical and procedural questions for the PR industry such as:

Should message accuracy be valued over timeliness?

What is an appropriate timeline for crisis response?

What can PR pros learn from this?

Regardless of company size or status, the news cycle waits for no one. It is generally best practice to get ahead of a news story by preparing a crisis communications response before an actual crisis occurs. Public relations professionals should be well prepared with a variety of responses ready to go in case of a crisis. Adequate preparation ensures timeliness, transparency and accuracy in reactive and proactive messaging.

It is our inherent job to create messaging for our clients. We have a responsibility to be proactive, transparent and timely. We can learn from the backlash Facebook has received regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal and adapt our execution to match the rapid pace of the media and the ever-changing news cycle.

Celebrating 20 Years of Technology – PR in Real-Time

By | Company Blog | No Comments

There is one universal truth in PR; the role of the public relations professional is always evolving and PR is now squarely in the era of real-time.

There was once a time where morning print editions and 6 o’clock news programs dominated the news cycles. Today, journalists must tame the 24-hour news cycle beast. The move to the round-the-clock news has forever changed our job description, from mainly media relations to proactive public image management, hijacking news and utilizing social media for crisis communications.

Not long-ago PR professionals cold-called reporters to pitch them stories (and some still do). However, just like the well-known “March to Progress” scientific illustration, public relations professionals now pitch reporters through email, secure messaging platforms and in some cases – sliding into a reporter’s Twitter DM’s.

Social media platforms, namely Twitter, have become an integral part of public relations professionals daily job. When Twitter began, users were not taking advantage of the instantaneous communications that the platform provided. The movie Easy A did a great job of capturing the way the public understood the platform in 2010. A character in the movie states:

“I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought… but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds. “Roman is having an OK day and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.” Who gives a rat’s ass?”

Today, it’s the ongoing documentation of online thoughts that exaggerate the need for PR professionals. These platforms have made our job simultaneously easier and more difficult. For influencers like Beyoncé or Taylor Swift, Twitter acts as a PR megaphone broadcasting out their news in 280 characters or less. Likewise, the Googles of the world can tweet out a media alert, and forgo issuing a press release altogether. However, for the vast majority of companies that tweet out or create videos about their story on a daily basis, it is our job to make sure that we help them do it in the most strategic way possible.

Now more than ever, technology has taught us to be cautious in the ways we do our jobs as PR pros. The world is now real-time, it is our job to evolve with it and utilize the skills we have learned to be timely, efficient and transparent.