Recently I came across this post by Keith Trivitt of the PR Breakfast Club blog. He shares what types of news and sources he follows regularly to stay current about public relations and communications, and he asks readers to do the same. As a fellow communications professional, Keith’s fascination with the information we consume mirrors my own curiosity about the world and how we learn about it.
With the proliferation of electronic gadgets such as Internet-enabled phones, tablets and e-readers, learning how and from what sources people consume their news is just as interesting as what they read. While our parents and grandparents were limited to a media menu of newspapers, radio, television and magazines, today we can choose from a buffet of those staples, as well as blogs, podcasts, Tweets and e-newsletters. News flashes are equally likely to reach us through a media pillar such as Tom Brokaw as through our best friend from high school. Ten years ago, the best way to get news about the 9/11 terrorist attacks was through live TV. Several weeks ago, the news about Osama bin Laden’s death broke over social media.
Likewise, the way association professionals create and take in news has become as varied as the industries they represent. Our clients write comprehensive legislative updates, industry growth reports, concept features and member profiles. Some read daily e-newsletters to stay informed about production numbers; others prefer to curl up with in-depth best practice features in biannual magazines. The topics range from cattle and agriculture to education and health care.
I wouldn’t call myself a “news junkie,” but I do check a few local and regional newspaper websites on my computer throughout the day so I know what’s going on in my world. I follow blogs about communications and public relations to stay aware about communications trends and best practices. In my car and while walking with my iPhone, I listen to NPR when I’m tired of music and want to add some culture to my life. All of these channels provide different kinds of news and information that help slake my thirst to be well-informed.
In the spirit of Trivitt’s post and The Atlantic’s Media Diet series, here’s my preferred lineup of communications and association-related news sources. Because my profession is communications, it’s heavy on advertising, public relations and marketing, but I enjoy going off-path every now and then and checking out the occasional random article about anything from firefighting gear to ice cream machines.
- The PR Breakfast Club provides an honest and sometimes irreverent survey of the public relations industry from its North American epicenter, New York City. It started as a Twitter hashtag in 2009 and has developed into a running op-ed about the practice and the people of PR.
- PR Squared, a blog authored by SHIFT Communications principal Todd Defren, offers some great insights into social media use and its impact on other areas of communication and life.
- PR in Your Pajamas is a good resource for case studies about different PR strategies for a range of unique clients.
- Finally, I check AdAge and AdWeek, two industry standbys, for news about the state of the industry and business transactions.
- The most comprehensive source I’ve found for association communication news and commentary is Alltop’s association management page, a virtual “magazine rack” of dozens of association blogs and websites.
- Alltop’s page includes the well-known (within the association community) ASAE Acronym as well as lesser known blogs like Mizz Information. I check Alltop at least three times per week and take note of the “most topular” stories to get a bead on what association staffs are interested in.
- I also monitor the Facebook and Twitter accounts of many of our clients to discover and pass along noteworthy member accomplishments, legislative updates and industry news.
- Marketing Sherpa and eMarketer are my go-to sources when I need hard numbers or research for a proposal. Both sites have mostly subscriber-only articles with small “free report” sections, but if you sign up for their newsletters you can often have free access to new research for a limited time before it’s put behind a paywall.
- Who’s Blogging What, a website and weekly newsletter, offers an extensive, constantly updated list of interesting blog posts about social media, Web usability, search engine optimization and more. I can almost always find something applicable to my work or just plain fun to read about.
What about you? What sources of association or communications news are essential for staying informed in your position? Leave a comment on our LinkedIn page or email me to share what sources you enjoy the most.
Kelly Donovan is an online marketing specialist with Naylor, LLC. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Naylor, LLC.