The PR pro’s dilemma. One would think that with the ever expanding media covering the 24/7 news cycle, there would be ever expanding opportunities to tell a client’s deserving soft news story. Not true. Simply put, if a story doesn’t fit within the narrow confines of the hot topic of the moment, i.e., breaking hard news, then those opportunities become very, very limited, indeed. And of course, the very definition of ‘breaking hard news’ has become so diluted and overused in today’s ubiquitous cable news world, that it’s lost any semblance of what it was intended to convey. I’m sure you’ve noticed the same ‘breaking news’ story continues over an entire news cycle until it should be labeled, ‘old news’ or at a minimum, ‘old breaking news.’
To those of us veteran PR types, this phenomenon, however, is nothing new. It probably can be traced back to the early nineties when a certain white Bronco led the LA cops on a merry chase culminating in an arrest and trial that was not just “must-see TV” but covered ad infinitum by the worldwide media for months. If your client’s story, no matter how vital or interesting, did not somehow relate to what was the ‘breaking news’ in the LA courtroom, then it fell on deaf ears within the media. And just about the time that we had all recovered from “OJ-it is” then the horrible tragedy of 9-11 was inflicted on us. In this instance, the media was certainly justified in focusing almost entirely on the barbaric acts and their aftermath on the American psyche. But while justified, the result was the same…soft news, not directly or indirectly tied to the events of 9-11, simply wasn’t attractive to the mainstream media.
Today, we PR types are faced with yet another breaking news story that appears to have no end in sight. And while hardly of the seriousness of 9-11 or the pop cultural impact of the great Bronco chase, the Trump presidency has the same effect. It’s a giant black media hole, absorbing any and all media pitches not related to our forty-fifth president and his daily misadventures. We’re PR people. We’re in the soft news business. Soft news, that which is the essence of our daily lives in business, in our personal lives, in everything not political, is being stymied by a media that is almost totally preoccupied with the “breaking news” of presidential actions and its sidebar of the President’s tweets.
Trump, Trump, and more Trump… Almost makes a PR guy wish for a little O.J.