Monday, September 21, 2009

GR Press Does PR!

There was an interesting example of media convergence yesterday.

The Grand Rapids Press had promised a detailed map for Art Prize, the phenomenal art exhibit/competition/community promotion happening in downtown Grand Rapids. But the map that was delivered in print in the Sunday Press had errors--not all of the art venues were listed, and the "inset on D7" indicated on the main map was no where to be found.

There were complaints on the Art Prize Web site. There were complaints on Twitter, which is often fed to Facebook and vice versa.

But in those same fora, the problem was addressed. A pdf of the missing map info was posted to the Art Prize site. The GR Press--both as an organizational entity and via various individual reporters and editors, including Entertainment Editor John Gonzalez--acknowledged the error, apologized, fixed it, and let everyone know via Twitter and Facebook. This is textbook crisis management for such a situation. As one of the complainers, I had a post to my Facebook wall and an @reply on Twitter from Press staff.

They did all of this quickly, directly, and on a weekend!

What's really interesting is that the Press was so directly involved in the crisis and solution. It wasn't just Art Prize, or staff at Seyferth and Associates (who have done a great job garnering interest and involvement among artists, art fans and broader communities). No, the Press was doing PR. They did it quite well.

Social media is causing media convergence in new and interesting ways. Whether you are in PR or journalism, it is increasingly clear that you can't just push information out there. You have to know, engage, and be responsive to your publics.

Ohh, the irony is delicious!

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