Don’t Rely on the Media

Don’t Rely on the Media

Do it yourself. It’s better that way.

We’ve all heard a lot of stories in the media about the salmon not showing up this year. The environmentalists are concerned, the fishing industry is upset, and first nations communities have been negatively impacted. Ottawa has even appointed a committee to look into the matter (that’s sure to fix things!). I’ve talked to my friend Chad Brealy at the Pacific Salmon Foundation about this, and it turns out the story isn’t as simple (or as grim) as the mainstream traditional media would have us believe. It’s a great example of why organizations need to BE the media, and tell their own stories, in order to promote the goals of their brand.

I was paying as much attention to the salmon crises as the next guy. My understanding was that the salmon simply just didn’t show up this year, and everyone was standing around scratching their head wondering what went wrong. In reality, it was just one kind of salmon (Sockeye) that didn’t show up in one river (The Fraser), while other salmon species had record-breaking years, in the Fraser river and elsewhere too. In fact, Sockeye salmon had better than average numbers in other parts of the province. Salmon naturally have good years and bad years, with a pretty predictable schedule, according to the scientists who study these kinds of things. This was a bad year, for one species, in one location.

Now, I’m not an expert, and this blog post is certainly not pretending to be balanced journalism with experts on both sides of the issue weighing in on their particular point of view. I really am not all that concerned with the facts here, in fact. What is relevant to me is that this organization, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, had a different point-of-view than the one the media had spun. But once the media has a hot story angle that is getting a lot of attention, trying to present a different version of events can be very tough.

Today, with a robust program to create and tell your own stories, your company can be the media. You no longer need to rely on the traditional media to present your truth. It takes work. It takes time. It means building a tribe of people online and offline who want to hear what you have to say. But it’s worth it. Communist politburos and nasty despots have always realized that having the ability to broadcast stories is a powerful tool. Not that anyone reading this is a communist dictator, but with new media channels online that give everyone a voice, your company has the ability to harness that power to help you become the trusted authority in your own field.

Traditional media can reach a lot of people, but often times the story gets lost in translation. Don’t rely on the press to do all the talking. Welcome the attention, and provide all the information you can, but make sure you are standing on your own soapbox and telling your version of the story too.

Here are some great articles
with good information to help
you get started: