There’s a reason this information is being shared….think like a PR person

At lunch today, my placement supervisors and I overheard a news report saying that Barbara Walters has come out and spilled the beans about an affair she had with a former US Senator 30 years ago.

Barbara Walters

The first thing we all said (in more or less words) was:
“Who cares?!”

Now, the next question that came after that was obviously why should we care?

Some people may just take the information for what it is without thinking about the reasoning behind why it’s in the news in the first place. But after being in the newsroom and in the media relations room, I’ve started questioning why certain things make the cut and get reported – or why someone bothered writing a release about it or contacting the media.

There are two things journalists and PR people must consider when preparing to share information with their target audiences, they both need to figure out why it is relevant and whether or not their audience will find it newsworthy.

Let’s disect the Walters story….

In an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show (scheduled to air this coming Tuesday), Barbara Walters reportedly spills the news that she had an affair with former US Senator Edward Brooke back in the 70’s.

Things to consider:
– Why is Walter’s on the Oprah Show and what is she talking about?
– Why did Walters choose this particular occasion to share this “juicy” news?

Possible answers/reasons:
– Walters is unveiling a new line of products, show, etc.
– Walters is staring in a new movie, television series

The answer:
My supervisor said she’s pretty sure Walters’ publicist “leaked” the story because she’s releasing a book in the near future.


I will no longer take anything I read/see on TV/hear on the radio for face value…there’s usually a publicist or PR person behind the message.


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