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The communications briefing: Rewriting the definition of a journalist and understanding why readers like news

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 

Industry news…

Re-writing the definition of a journalist
Data from LinkedIn suggested that the number of new hires in “content” and “social media” increased at a faster clip than the declines in journalism and PR hiring, making up a larger share of total hires in 2018 than they did in the earliest days of Facebook. People who once worked in journalism or PR have commonly transitioned into job titles like “content writer” and “social media manager,” according to LinkedIn senior data scientist Alan Fritzler. Gary Steinberg, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, suggests this is down to the reinterpretation of what a journalist does. “The definition of what a reporter does is certainly changing. The case of a blog is a great example. You have a blog and it doesn’t matter what it is. The question is whose payroll you’re on because payroll determines the industry,” he said.

Reuters study examines how readers choose their news
Kim Christian Schrøder, professor of communications at Roskilde University, Denmark, produced a study looking into the process by which readers choose the news they consume, and how it helps them make sense of their lives. What Do News Readers Really Want To Read About?, published by The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, argues that perceived relevance is the key driver in consumer decision-making on news content. Examples of relevance include if the news is personally relatable; socially shared or sharable; speaks to a general, civic nature; is from a known news brand; and whether the headline and/or sub headline provides enough information. The report also separates news readers into four separate clusters, according to news preference.
What's New in Publishing?

ITV warns on advertising
ITV warned that it expects total advertising revenue to fall “between 3% to 4%” over the first four months of the year. “The economic and political headwinds for the UK will have an effect on the advertising market and, while ITV is increasingly diversified, we remain sensitive to this”, said chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall. The company’s full-year results show that advertising revenues were up just 1% across the group in 2018, despite a 36% rise in online advertising. Revenues inched up to £3.2bn, but operating profits fell to £803m. Relatedly Paul Talbot, president of Southport Harbor, writes in Forbes of the importance of developing a second-screen marketing strategy.
The TimesForbes

Former Bell Pottinger CEO told to repay £400,000
James Henderson, the former chief executive of Bell Pottinger, was told by administrators BDO to repay £400,000 in profits that were taken out of the public relations company before it collapsed. Bell Pottinger went bust in September 2017 after a scandal in South Africa, where it was accused of inciting racial hatred in a campaign for the wealthy Gupta family. Around 40 other former partners have also been instructed to make repayments.
The Times


Local news supports democracy
An editorial in the Spectator suggested that UK democracy is under threat from falling revenues from classified advertising in the local media – the raft of regional titles that have historically held public institutions to account. Advertising revenue for the UK press has tumbled from £4.6bn to £1.4bn over the past ten years, leaving the "workings of democracy" all the weaker. When Lynton Crosby was David Cameron’s campaign chief, the piece notes, he eschewed BBC radio and instead alternated between Heart, Smooth and Magic radio stations, as he wanted to hear about the country "as ordinary voters did."
The Spectator


Mothercare launches new ad campaign
A new advertising campaign in the London Underground spotlighted women's bodies after childbirth, depicted without the use of digital retouching. Mothercare's Body Proud Mums campaign aims to represent "a part of motherhood that is rarely seen in media," the childcare retailer said in a statement. The campaign comprises 10 photos, taken by Sophie Mayanne, of women holding their babies and wearing only underwear, revealing scars, stretch marks and other physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth. 

Serena provides voiceover for new Nike ad
Nike’s “Dream Crazy” ad campaign was launched during the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, featuring a statement by Serena Williams, and showing such history-making female athletes and coaches including hijab-wearing fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, Olympic gymnast and alleged sexual assault victim Simone Biles, and runner Caster Sementa, who was forced to undergo gender-confirmation tests after breaking the world record for 800 metres.

Reputational risk

Huawei illustrates the risks of a no-comms strategy
Huawei has seen its communications strategy come under the microscope lately, following continued accusations from the United States that the Chinese multinational posed a security risk. Founder Ren Zhengfei struck a bullish tone in an interview with the BBC, stating “There’s no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced”. William Plummer, the company’s former head of US public and government relations, questioned the decision to issue such a strong statement. “I’m not sure being confrontational now is a good idea”, he said, adding: “There has never been a consistent, strategic approach to managing their image”.


X-Men casting down to social media following
Actor Sophie Turner, famous for playing Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, revealed that one of the reasons she was cast as Jean Grey in the X-Men movie franchise was her large social media following. Ms Turner has large followings on Twitter (1.34m), Instagram (5.4m) and Facebook (2m). "I auditioned for a project and it was between me and another girl who is a far better actress than I am, far better, but I had the followers, so I got the job,” she said. “It’s not right, but it is part of the movie industry now”.
Cosmic Book News

And finally…

Ad board all in the game
Viewers of Manchester United’s match against Liverpool on Sunday noted that a pitchside advertising board for Tag Heuer, which featured the slogan “#Don’tCrackUnderPressure”, could be construed as a dig at Liverpool’s failure to win the Premier League in 2014, when they let slip a points lead to eventual champions Manchester City.
The Daily Star

This briefing has been prepared by Early Morning Media.  If you are interested in a customised bespoke news briefing for you or your client across any vertical, please contact

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