A thought-provoking story published Tuesday on ABC News.com asks whether the Obama administration is attempting to bypass the mainstream media in an effort to both control its message and connect with the American public.
Reporter Devin Dwyer observes:
“The White House Press Office now not only produces a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, and Facebook and Twitter profiles, but also a mix of daily video programming, including live coverage of the president’s appearances and news-like shows that highlight his accomplishments.”
The White House recently has launched a series of online programs, including “West Wing Week,” “Open for Questions” and “Advise the Adviser: Your Direct Line to the White House.”
The Obama campaign was widely applauded for the successful use of social media that helped sweep him into office in 2008, but now it seems those very same strategies are running afoul of the mainstream media, who bemoan the lack of access to the President they feel they should have.
Dwyer reports that the White House press corps were barred from the President’s START Treaty signing ceremony and from his post-State of the Union cabinet meeting, and that reporters were limited to one question each during a joint Q&A session with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
I strongly believe in the role of a strong media apparatus and its role in questioning our leaders and providing the public with the information we need in order to make informed decisions and ensure that we’re appropriately represented in Washington and elsewhere. The White House should be open and allow journalists to do their jobs.
On the other hand, creating a direct-to-the-consumer (or electorate) news channel is a brilliant strategy that can and does help the governors connect more directly to the governed, and one that my friend Ed Lallo of Newsroom Ink has employed this “private label news strategy” for clients including Imperial Sugar and Louisiana Seafood.
In an age when newspaper staffs and news-gathering budgets are shrinking and the race to be first is more important than the responsibility to be accurate, the Web offers a wealth of opportunities for your organization to share “what’s really happening” with stakeholders and balance what’s being reported by the mainstream media.
Are you relying on the news media to tell your story? If so, are you missing out on ways to share your story directly with those whose opinions and perceptions truly affect your business?