"The press room of the future is going to be driven by broadband."
That's one hint about the future of public relations from a guy who ought to know...because he's one of the folks who's changing it.
John Furrier, CEO of PodTech.net, spoke last night about the future of PR and press rooms to a group of about 50 PR professionals and other interested folks at the Third Thursday social media meet-up in Palo Alto. The discussion was moderated by Giovanni Rodriguez, principal of HubbubPR.
Third Thursday focuses on the use of social media in marketing and PR.
Furrier started out as a tech guy, not a PR guy, and he didn't intend to change PR. He just wanted access to a decent press room at the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a space where he could quickly upload his podcasts and videos.
Hey, it's timely info, and people are interested...so why would you want to wait until you got home (or could find a local Starbucks with a good wifi connection) to publish it? News ought to get out fast!
So in January, for this year's CES, Furrier decided to create his own press room...a couple of rooms actually, at the Bellagio...with wireless, of course, mega broadband access, plus some plasma screens... and food, lots of it, because he noticed the food at the official CES press room tended to run out fast. He called it the Bloghaus. It was open all three days of the CED, 24/7.
CES opened its traditional press room to bloggers this year, but...it was crowded, the food ran out and the wifi crashed. So a funny thing happened...a lot of the bloggers, podcasters and video bloggers started hearing about this swell place over at the Bellagio and migrated to the Bloghaus.
Soon, Furrier had a full house. And the Bloghaus was operating more like a studio than a traditional pressroom, with bloggers and video bloggers conducting interviews and uploading them right away. By the end of the three-day show, 750 video clips on CES had been uploaded from the Bloghaus.
Even some mainstream media (MSM) folks showed up to check it out, like Stephen Levy of Newsweek and John Markoff of the New York Times. A few savvy CEOs showed up too, and gained some street cred for being willing to talk to bloggers one-on-one. Maybe they'd figured out this was a way to reach millions of people within a few hours.
One thing Furrier noticed is that bloggers and video bloggers tend to work a little differently from mainstream media (MSM) reporters...they talk to each other more, they collaborate. He described it as "conversations among influencers who form opinions."
"It dawned on me that this is the press club of the future," Furrier said. "I think you're going to see more of this...we are in the early stages of a transformation."
What's changing is the relationship between traditional and emerging media, he said. It's getting more symbiotic. MSM reporters are recognizing that bloggers can simply get a lot of information out faster. Also, they're recognizing that communities of bloggers who focus on specific issues can uncover good stories...and help them percolate up into public awareness. Then, as Furrier put it, "the mainstream media comes in and fossilizes the story for the public."
Coming up next in my next post: Furrier on the death...and rebirth...of the VNR.