The last time we all filled in those census forms back in August 2001,
almost twice as many Australians confessed to working in public
relations as opposed to good old fashioned journalism. In a sign of the
times, the ratio could well be worse than two-to-one tomorrow night
because PR remains a huge growth industry while traditional journalism
is under threat from the internet.

The 24 hour news cycle is desperate for content and this email last week from
Sydney real estate agent Peter Kelaher to his contact list perhaps sums up the problem:

Hi Everyone,

Just letting you know that I will be the Property Reporter for Sky
Business News
,
giving regular property market reviews every last Monday
of the month live at 8.30pm, and whenever property hits the headlines.
If you are wanting comment at all this week on interest rate rises
and the effect it will have on the market please feel free to call me.

Kind Regards,
Peter Kelaher – Managing Director

PK Property Search & Negotiators Pty Ltd

Now Peter is no doubt delighted to be building his media
profile but a reporter he is not. Industry commentator, perhaps.

That said, the old journos’ union,
the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, has long realised that it
needs to service the burgeoning spin industry as well. Hundreds of
delegates have already registered for the Seventh National Public Affairs
Convention
in Sydney on Thursday and Friday and the program is littered
with spin doctors from major corporates such as ANZ, Foster’s, Unilever,
Telstra and Virgin Mobile. The Federal government even gets a guernsey
through chief Immigration spinner Sandi Logan.

I’m speaking at the dinner on Thursday night and am then on a Friday panel with Channel Nine finance editor Ross Greenwood and TheAustralian’s
Michael West in which we’re being promoted as unveiling the secrets to
building relationships with the right hacks, coping with the 24-hour
news cycle and framing a compelling story that will definitely get a
run.

Hmmm, the old line of just advising people to deliver leaks to Crikey
against their enemies before they get in first is perhaps a little
simplistic for an audience of sophisticated spinners. Suggestions on what to say are welcome to
[email protected]

Peter Fray

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