If you were like me, back in 2013 when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post, thoughts quickly emerged about his plans for the newspaper and what would be next? Well, this past month Bezos’ history of aiming high was reflected in the announcement that his paper would be joining the growing number of news organizations which are using language-generation technology to produce stories automatically.
What’s next in the media landscape? It’s here…training software for writing stories. Adding to this summer’s portfolio of new story-telling methods is the two-way text-messaging service offered by The New York Times to enhance news coverage of the Summer Olympics. Those who signed-up for this service in advance were able to receive a behind-the-scenes look at the Games in a personalized and user-friendly manner. This innovation was developed by the Times’ Director of Personalization – who is focused on helping the paper tell stories through a lens that brings readers closer to the journalism and to the journalist.
Lastly, CNN has also joined the ranks this summer of news organization expanding and enhancing their technological capabilities for news gathering and storytelling by launching CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting, or CNN AIR for short. The CNN AIR team is made up of several drones, or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), along with two full-time UAS operators. The drones are being used for all CNN platforms as well as other Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner entities. CNN produced this video as part of the launch of CNN AIR. With both the Post, Times and CNN, it’s clear that attracting and reaching readers in new and creative ways and on platforms that are central to their lives is a core component of their business plans. Having a knowledge of these type of strategic initiatives provides us with just the type of perspective needed to more fully understand and appreciate reporting and storytelling the “new-fashion” way.
As we enter the month of September, the deadline (September 12, 2016) for submitting “Best in Maryland” (BIM) award nominations is drawing near. This year’s gala and holiday celebration is an ideal opportunity to join Baltimore’s finest communication professionals in celebrating another successful year in Maryland public relations and communications. What will surely lead to a large turnout at this year’s event includes the revised award categories, valued sponsorships, creative promotion, elegant venue, as well as fabulous speakers. For example, Barb Clapp, President and CEO at Clapp Communications, will serve as the evening’s emcee. In July 2016, The Daily Record named Barb as one of Maryland’s 2016 Most Admired CEOs. Joining her as our keynote speaker will be Susan Goldberg, the first female Editor-in-Chief for National Geographic Magazine and Editorial Director of National Geographic Partners — an expanded joint venture owned by the National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox that combines the National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s other media and consumer-oriented assets. Under her leadership, in 2015 National Geographic won two National Magazine Awards and the George Polk Award for magazine reporting. In 2013, Susan was voted one of Washington’s eleven most influential women in the media by Washingtonian magazine. Her keynote presentation will address how National Geographic Magazine leaders and other communicators can tackle the new challenges facing media and journalism in the digital age. Special thanks to all of the sponsors who are working tirelessly to make this year’s gala and holiday celebration the best ever — Gala Chair – Clapp Communications; Design – Van Eperen; Keynote Speaker – Erickson Living; printing – PCA; and photography – Harry Bosk PR and Photography.
Special thanks are extended to Anita A. Brightman, APR, Fellow PRSA, and founder and CEO of a “A. Bright Idea,” and her staff for hosting a “Coffee With” on August 22. PRSA MD members had a first-hand opportunity to see why A. Bright Idea is one of Maryland’s leading public relations agencies. Also, special thanks is given to Bobbie Battista, Director of Corporate Communications and Culture at ExpressJet Airlines, for being a part of a special virtual discussion on August 25.
I hope you had a great summer and look forward to seeing you at one of the chapter’s upcoming events, including the Photo Safari in Fells Point (September 14), Coffee With Planit (September 22), 2016 Best in Maryland Gala and Holiday Celebration (December 8), at The Belvedere.
Dan Dunne, APR
President, PRSA MD