Friday AM December 5th, 2008

Hundreds of public relations professionals gathered in Houston this week to discuss communications, technology and business challenges. Ed Mayberry reports.


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ABC News analyst and commentator Victoria Clarke delivered the keynote address for PR Day, reflecting on how her years working in public relations and in the news business has given her a unique perspective on both.  She is now a senior advisor to Comcast.

“I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve worked in sort of all sides or all parts of the information space, whether it’s the traditional media side or on the company side, trying to deal with the public and try to deal with the news media.  And it’s a great advantage, because if you know where everybody’s coming from, more likely you can figure out what it is they need and how you can address their issues and their concerns.  I think I can do a pretty good job sometimes explaining to the news media or others in the public ‘let me give you a better sense of what it is we’re going through as a company and what it is we’re trying to address.” 

Clarke said when she worked for Senator John McCain in his freshman year, she only had to balance three or four media outlets.  Now, there are 24-hour rolling news channels and blogs.  She says technology is causing rapid changes in getting messages out.

“In the old days you could count on just having a good relationship with your news media that covered you.  That will not suffice these days.  You have to understand all these new channels and you have to use them.  The global reach now of companies, the global reach of the Internet means anything local can and will be global very quickly.  Similarly, something that happens thousands of miles away can have an impact on your business.  So you have to be aware of it, you have to understand, again, how to use all these tools and tactics in a way that makes sense in that environment.”

The Public Relations Society of America event at the Westin Oaks Hotel looked at crisis communications, executive coaching and government relations. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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