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A PR campaign for independent news - Independent News Forum series (2/5)

In the second in a series of posts on ideas coming out of the Independent News Forum, Joe Mitchell writes up notes on a project to create a shared publicity campaign for independent news providers.

Last month, PINF and partners hosted the Independent News Forum. Out of that gathering of news providers and supporting organisations came several ideas for collaborative projects to benefit the independent news sector.

This blogpost describes the work of the group that developed ideas around a PR campaign for independent news. This description is PINF’s best understanding of the group’s discussion – it does not necessarily represent PINF’s view. There’s more that can be done to develop the idea: if you’re interested, join the call at the link of the end of this post.

The broad goal discussed by the group was raising awareness of the independent news sector. The plan was to do this by telling a story that is ‘simple, engaging, memorable, emotive and powerful.’

That story would be told collectively – in a chorus of voices made up of independent news organisations, as part of a proud movement for better news. The group described ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ – and representing many diverse perspectives with one message.

The group felt that this could be focused to happen on one day of the year, borrowing from concepts like the Independent Record Store Day to produce something like an Independent Local News Day. This might coincide with an awards event to recognise the excellence of the industry and the sector, which could be produced by a range of collaborating organisations and have its costs covered by sponsorship. On that day, each local news provider could commit to running their own event in their community, or to using their platforms to collectively push a unified message.

The group also discussed whether national and community ambassadors could be lined up to help spread the word – these could include local MPs. An idea was also explored around a manifesto for independent news.

It was felt that there would need to be external agency support brought in – a strategic communications or PR agency that understands the community network, since independent media might struggle to tell their own story. The group suggested that the news membership bodies in attendance

(such as the Independent Media Association, Independent Community News Network or IMPRESS, the regulator) could each take a share of the project management across the work.

The group noted that their biggest challenge would likely be getting everyone on board and coordinating the many voices across the sector.

Participants suggested trying to win some small funding to engage an agency as one of the inaugural steps. The agency would then do the research to work out one clear message that would resonate with the public and that providers could get behind in a coordinated way.

The immediate next step is to continue the conversation. Join the call: If you’re interested in making this PR campaign happen, join the call Weds 18 January 2023, 10am. You can sign up here. If you want to comment before the call you can do so in this shared document.

Watch out for the rest of the series of blogposts – follow @PINewsF on twitter for updates or sign up to PINF’s mailing list here.


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