I Want My NAA…Online

I’m pulling together my notes in preparation for the Bulldog Media Relations Conference starting today (Monday) in D.C. As mentioned, I’ll be presiding over the journalist panels during the two-day event, which draws hundreds of public relations professionals.

Many of the questions supplied to me by the event organizers relate to how PR pros can enhance their media relationships, and by extension, their placement efficacy with the DC-based editors, reporters and producers on hand from several dozen top-tier news organizations.

However, as I think about what interests me most (professionally), I can’t help but consider the white elephant in the room: how media consumption habits are changing and what news organizations are doing to meet the challenge, let alone what PR people are doing to adjust their media engagement strategies.

Last week in South Africa, at the annual Congress of the World Association of Newspapers, the folks at Harris Interactive (a former client) “surveyed 8,749 adults from The United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Australia. Respondents were asked about their current sources of news and information, and what changes they see five years into the future. They were also asked to assess the credibility of newspapers today, and their role, and that of their online sites, today and in the future. The topline findings:

“Online news and information will supplant television network news as the leading news source over the next five years, but newspapers will remain a vital source on their own, and can become dominant if they successfully integrate online delivery as a part of what they offer the public.”

“Despite the likely decline in print circulation, newspaper publishers should see a challenge and an opportunity in extending their brands online,” explained the Harris Interactive consultant who presented the results.

So, as I assume my moderator role, invariably I’ll be tempted to augment the mainstream questions with several that portend the perilous future of many on the panel — with the PR pro’s interests firmly in mind naturally. A sampling is as follows:

— What roles do blogs play in story idea generation, validation?
— Do you use an RSS reader to keep track of your coverage areas?
— Is the traditional press release a help or a nuisance?
— Is a story pitch more appeaing if it comes with a digital video component?
— What do you think of Flickr, YouTube, del.icio.us, digg
— Under what circumstances would you consider conducting an interview via e-mail?

Hope to see you at the conference. Remember the PR blogger meet-up in the lobby of the hotel 7pm Monday.