By Charlotte Dowd, Senior Account Executive
Staying on top of current affairs is essential to fulfilling your role as a PR professional. You will need to have a general knowledge of political advancements and developments in the areas within which your clients work. Some may think that staying on top of current affairs is easy, you simply sign up to a news app, right?
Wrong. Whilst signing up may make news easier to access, it still doesn’t mean that you have the time to actually read said news. But in the job that is about working around the news cycle, it is ever more important to be aware of happenings that could affect the spheres in which your clients, and your own business, operate. Here are my tips on being informed and always on the top of the news agenda.
#1 Listen to the radio
The flagship Today programme on Radio 4 is arguably the most highly rated current affairs programme in the UK. Listening to Today whilst you are getting ready for work, brushing your teeth, or eating your breakfast, will keep you informed of national and international news and current affairs, that’s the beauty of the radio as a medium, you can multitask and listen to it anywhere!
Here at MK PR, we listen to BBC Radio Sheffield whilst we work, to ensure that we keep an ear to the ground on all local advancements and developments. Listening to your local radio station is a great time efficient way to stay informed of goings on in your local area.
#2 Read a newspaper
Even though you might say that print is dead (it isn’t!), newspapers still remain a very influential medium. It is important to keep abreast of national, regional and local affairs, and newspapers will contribute to your understanding of this.
As a PR agency based in Sheffield, we ensure that the regional dailies and weeklies are delivered to our desks so that we never miss a trick. Keeping abreast of relevant industry, sector and regional news doesn’t mean that you have to read every article, but it’s always worth skimming through the headlines, highlighting those that are of interest to your clients and business in a daily ‘News Round Up.’
Don’t forget about the online editions of the outlets! These will be often a limited version of print, but will regardless allow you to get your head around current affairs.
#3 Take advantage of social media
We live in the information age. We should take advantage of it. The Internet of Things and the advancement of social media as a news platform has ensured the rise of the civilian reporter, whereby any old Tom, Dick or Harry can release ground-breaking news in as little as 140 characters.
Apart from the previously mentioned online editions of the papers, following leading news outlets on the social channels can give more idea on the information flow. Another important tip, especially for public relations professionals, is following journalists. As a PR pro, this will let you sound out anything that is on their pipeline.
#4 Extra tips
- Sign up to newsletters: Get the most important information straight into your inbox.
- Use apps: The BBC News and Sky News apps will come in handy during your commute;
- Read magazines: Quartz, The Economist, TIME — all of these will give you an in-depth analyses of current issues around the world.
Media literacy is vital to debunk fake news. By varying the mediums which you rely on for your news updates, you will be able to form a more well-rounded opinion of current affairs.
The above is a compilation of fool-proof tips to help you stay abreast of current affairs and popular culture developments which will help you become more media-savvy, and ultimately help you become a become a more involved player in the business community.