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We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.

Over the course of this series of podcasts, we have heard from several special guests, who have given their opinions on the current state of public relations from a journalist’s perspective. We close off the series by giving the final word to Danielle Smith, President of the Alberta Enterprise Group, as well as a columnist and radio host, who has made a considerable contribution to public discourse in Alberta in general. Given her extensive experience in the media world from various perspectives, we felt it was very fitting that she should help us round up this series on public relations.

The influence of Big Tech and the state

Mainstream media is rapidly transforming. The changes it is currently experiencing were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but were actually well underway before the virus started to spread. From Danielle’s point of view, the influence of social media has a lot to do with this situation. Social media platforms are major influencers of public opinion, and their increasing tendency to censor people and views that don’t agree with a certain perspective, carries over to mainstream media, determining who radio hosts like Danielle are allowed to talk to on the air and what subjects they are permitted to discuss. What this means, is that Big Tech is dictating the agenda for mainstream media.

Danielle also believes that there has been a blurring of the lines between state and media due to the pandemic. The media is meant to be Fourth Estate – independent and uncontrolled by political agendas. However, in an emergency situation, the media – particularly broadcast media – becomes the primary outlet for the government to get essential information out to the public. Given the fact that the current emergency has gone on for well over a year, the mainstream media has gradually shifted more of its focus towards conveying information for the state, rather than delivering the news impartially.

From Danielle’s perspective, this situation, with Big Tech and the state setting the media agenda, may only get worse over time. This, of course, will have a significant effect on how companies conduct their media relations campaigns.

To hear all of Danielle’s insights on the media landscape, listen to the final episode in the fifth series of our podcastTwo Babies and a Business. For more on public relations and digital marketing, take a look at our blog or podcast, or contact us.

A journalist’s perspective – Danielle Smith