Keeping up with PR change in 2024

Posted March 19th, 2024 in Uncategorized by Jeff Bentoff

Another year of change is on the way for the PR world in 2024, with every type of communications changing rapidly as well.

The latest wave comes from artificial intelligence. A writer in Forbes talks about how AI is coming to PR:

I believe that AI and automation will be deeply integrated into PR practices in the next few years, streamlining routine tasks and allowing PR professionals to focus on strategy, creativity and relationship-building.

While the possibilities for leveraging AI are exciting, a number of issues need to be guarded against when using it—including avoiding disinformation, data privacy oversteps and honoring copyrights.

Check out some insights in this thoughtful piece. Meanwhile, the role of traditional media continues to evolve, while the rapidly changing world of social media continues to grow in dominance.

Knowing how to reach your audiences becomes more critical and trickier than ever. Being aware of today’s new communication channels and how they can help you is the key to success.

What to expect from journalism in 2022? Hear from the experts!

Posted December 16th, 2021 in Uncategorized by Jeff Bentoff

The one constant with journalism these days is it’s always changing.

Harvard College’s The Nieman Journalism Lab, which looks at innovation and change in journalism, asked several experts for their predictions on journalism in 2022. Read their thoughts here.

Public Relations’ Brave New World

Posted November 23rd, 2016 in Public Relations by Jeff Bentoff

Welcome to the brave new world of public relations. Issue a news release, get on TV and in the newspaper, and all done — right?


Uh, wrong. If that was ever a good strategy, it’s more wrong now than ever.

Why? We all know how the media has gone from a few outlets controlled by gatekeepers, to an infinite number of bully pulpits. With various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and more), news sources on the web (traditional media outlets, web-only sources like Huffington Post and more), podcasts and easy availability of video and its widespread use — how should you get your message out?

With all the changes in communication, public relations really is about those two words — “public” and “relations” — more than ever. It’s about relating to the public. Not talking at the public or the media. It’s about talking — and — listening. About conversing. Going to where your audience is — and they’re doing more than watching the evening news or reading the morning paper, if even that, these days.

That’s the bad news — the challenge of a new environment.

The good news? More ways to get your message out. More accessible ways. And less expensive ways.

This new world of PR is constantly changing. But it’s exciting. And it can be very effective.







Obama and the media

Posted April 1st, 2013 in Government, Media Relations, Politics by Jeff Bentoff

This interesting article says President Barack Obama is managing the media in unprecedented ways. Do you agree? Or is it pretty common, maybe the new normal in the current era of self-publishing via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, blogs, you name it?




Campaign reporters allowing quote vetos

Posted July 21st, 2012 in Campaigns, Government, Media Relations, Television by Jeff Bentoff

The New York Times this week revealed an open secret in D.C. — national campaign reporters are now allowing political sources to approve or edit their interview quotes before potential publication. This is a new practice in political reporting that wasn’t widely known about until this article.

As a former print reporter and government spokesman, I’ve never seen media in Milwaukee agree to such ground rules. It’s always been a matter of sources speaking carefully or suffering the consequences.

No such post-interview editing agreement for TV news interviews takes place that I’m aware of. By definition, it wouldn’t even be possible for live interviews. Gaffs and out-of-context usage comes out of TV interviews routinely. But political operatives want power over interview quotes where they can get it to avoid an inadvertent word or sentence throwing their campaigns off message. And national print reporters must be agreeing because of a desperate need for the interviews. (Despite Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Reuters and The Times consenting to such approvals, AP doesn’t allow this practice, and The Times is reviewing its adherence.)

A second Times story this week points to an irony: While journalists don’t like having to allow sources to veto quotes, journalists also would prefer to veto their own TV soundbites appearing in political ads. In the last week, talking head pundits commenting on Mitt Romney’s tax non-disclosures found their televised opinions almost instantly appearing in political TV ads by both sides. Even retired NBC anchor Tom Brokaw hates finding himself in political ads. And there’s nothing he can do about it.

Trying to control an interview is an age-old game. At least for this campaign season, political sources and campaigns have the advantage.

How to get on page one of The New York Times

Posted June 11th, 2012 in Media Relations, Public Relations by Jeff Bentoff

This article explains.


Itching for a TV fight

Posted March 12th, 2012 in Communications, Government, Media Relations, Public Relations, Television by Jeff Bentoff

Milwaukee media consumers, especially local TV news viewers, may be more familiar with “instigative journalism” than “investigative journalism.”

As I wrote in a prior post, instigative journalism is the clever term comedian Jon Stewart coined for reporters prodding an official with someone else’s trash talk, hoping to gin up a fight.

Sure, Milwaukee sees its share of excellent investigative pieces. But like everywhere else, we sure have a lot of instigative pieces.

I was involved on the receiving side on many an instigative story over the last year when I served as Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s deputy chief of staff and handled his media relations. That’s because of Sheriff David Clarke Jr.’s incessant verbal attacks on Abele — and the media’s passion to try to get the two to verbally duke it out.

President Obama, like many a seasoned political pro, tends not to take this type of bait. Similarly Abele, a political newbie, didn’t either. What’s intriguing and amusing was how Abele’s non-combative responses were characterized — or mischaracterized.

Not to pick on a single station or report, because the practice of trying to goad officials into a fight is common locally and nationally, but here’s one example. You’ll see that Clarke takes a pile of verbal potshots at Abele. Abele calmly responds to a reporter, but with nothing even close to a personal return attack. Nonetheless, the piece leads off with the anchor declaring that Abele “fires back” and describes a “heated exchange.” Yet in reality, no fire, no heat. Unless you count the reporter adjectives.

Obviously media likes a juicy story, not a boring one. A fight between two big-name officials brings viewers and readers.


“Instigative” journalism

Posted March 8th, 2012 in Communications, Government, Media Relations, Public Relations, Television by Jeff Bentoff

We’ve all seen it, especially those of us in the media relations or politics fields. Now Jon Stewart has put a name to it: “Instigative journalism.”

As Steward explained the term in a piece this week on The Daily Show: “It’s like investigative journalism. Instead of investigating, they instigate. They prod the person at the podium with someone else’s trash talk to see if they gin up a fight.”

His segment, “A View to a Grill,” showed reporter after reporter at a news conference this week throwing charges from political opponents at President Obama and asking for his response — clearly hoping for a fight. Stewart suggested that reporters cap their questions with: “You gonna take that s***?” to ensure proper provocation.

This demonstrates just how much TV news loves conflict. Read about local “instigative journalism” here in Milwaukee in a future post.

Bentoff Communications Update

Posted January 29th, 2012 in Uncategorized by Jeff Bentoff

Bentoff Communications is returning from a temporary hiatus while owner Jeff Bentoff worked as deputy chief of staff for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. With Abele’s re-election almost certain (no candidates chose to run against him), Jeff recently announced that he is leaving that position and returning to consult for businesses and non-profits through Bentoff Communications.

“Jeff provided invaluable leadership and skills that enabled me and my new administration to successfully communicate our goals to the public and begin to implement major reforms in Milwaukee County government,” Abele said.

Here in our blog, Jeff will be sharing some of his recent communications experiences and insights, so stay tuned.

What Osama bin Laden’s death means in the PR world today

Posted May 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized by Jeff Bentoff

Here’s an instructive column I came across today explaining how the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing will affect PR projects in the short term. Hint: If you have a story you’re pitching today — or this week — good luck.

It’s a good explanation of how planned PR initiatives take a back seat when big news, even news less monumental than this, breaks out. Kinda obvious to those of us in the business, but worth reading.

The killing of the world’s top terrorist of course trumps any other issue today, as it should, and makes considerations of PR strategies seem trivial. Our admiration and thanks goes out to the brave military who accomplished the mission in Pakistan yesterday and our leaders who directed the operation. We hope this action make the world a safer place.