Posted by: East and West | 2009/06/03

News: A Snapshot in Time

I was reading an article on why a photographer — even a neophyte — should turn off the automatic settings on a camera, to explore everything that the camera can do. Armed with the knowledge of a few basics — lenses, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO — you and I can control the image’s width, brightness and contrast, depth, and granularity to produce a great photo every time.

As public relations practitioners we’re often tempted to shoot on auto — to break news using the bones of an old announcement or to reuse an old media contacts list. As professionals we know and should challenge ourselves to do better.

Lenses — Can we target an untapped audience? Who will care about our message? Whose minds do we want to change or win?

Brightness and contrast — Can we position against conventional knowledge? How different are we, truly, from our competitors? Is the strongest feature of our product a benefit to our customers? How do we highlight the features that benefit our audiences?

Shutter speed — Should we tighten the focus of the information or provide more background? How much will our target audience understand?

Granularity — How much information is too much? What level of product detail to we need to provide?

We can be lulled into a false sense of comfort, and allow the practice of our craft to degrade into a recitation of rote. Our challenge is to bring something new into everything we write, to experiment with the message and the medium, to discover everything that PR can do. Every news announcement we distribute is a snapshot in time. Are we taking a great photo?

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