As a former journalist and editor with a tough reputation, Sam Whitmore now uses his power to help agencies break through the noise and connect with the media and influencers that matter in this rapidly changing world. At Sam Whitmore Media Survey, he has been serving up insights, tips, tricks and pitch angles — not to mention journalists themselves in his weekly interviews — to PR agencies for twelve years now.
Sam has watched mainstream media drop the ball and really struggle with becoming more social, and when Fresh Ground Principal Todd Van Hoosear caught up with him at the NewComm Forum last week, he asked him what brought him from Boston to Silicon Valley, and what he sees on the horizon for the media world.
Some highlights of the conversation:
“In an era of social media, I really wonder how influential some of these smokestack media journalists are.”
“You’re seeing the dynamic content show up anywhere but the ‘packaged goods’ media — the media that the clients demand to get in, but hardly anybody reads anymore.”
“[PR agencies] are turning to us saying ‘what language … tools … and data can you give us to … wake up [our clients] to the fact that they really should be excited about that blog post and maybe not so much about the [mainstream hit].’”
“Most of the packaged goods media people have the static mentality: ‘I’m filing the story and I’m done with it; now I’m going to do a new story.’”
“[Use] bloggers as lightning rods for discussions.”
“There [are] all these reasons that these big titles aren’t participating the way that they should, and somebody’s going to pick up the winnings on that.”
“The influencers … in the near future are going to be not just the authors but frequent commenters.”
“The people have the power now. I don’t know how many clients are even comfortable with that. I think the clients [still] feel good with the imprimatur of the expert.”
“All of us are liberal arts refugees in some way, shape or form in this business…. You really have to have facility for [the ones and zeros].”