As a PR strategist and trainer, I often see the media getting negative comments around all the ‘doom and gloom’ news they share. The scaremongering, the misleading headlines. Just in the last few days I have witnessed immense good news stories and seen the true power of the media right now.
The thing is, it’s their job to report on these things but it isn’t all doom and gloom in the newsrooms. They always have and continue to make an incredible impact with people that need their help.
Local Democracy Reporter for the Sheffield Star and BBC, Lucy Ashton, shared this incredible post about how one newspaper piece turned things around for local NHS staff.
If you're wondering why we still need the local media, here's a little example.— Lucy Ashton (@LutheBlue) April 6, 2020
I met a nurse today who told me NHS staff were being fined hundreds of pounds in parking charges and asked if I would do a story.
I did - and all the fees have been immediately cancelled
A simple conversation with a local nurse encouraged Lucy to write a piece on how NHS staff were being fined hundreds of pounds in parking fines. This isn’t ideal in any situation but right now when it’s all hands on deck and NHS staff are working more hours than ever putting their own lives at risk, the fact that there were parking charges is absurd.
Once the piece was published in the Sheffield Star newspaper, all the accumulated parking fees were cancelled immediately! Had this not been published in the newspaper or exposed publicly, those parking fees would have kept rising and causing immense stress for NHS staff when their energy is needed elsewhere.
Anna Roberts, Senior Commissioning Editor at The Sun newspaper wrote a piece on how eBay sellers began selling baby milk for outrageous prices when a demand for the product was noticed.
A few weeks ago for @thesun, I wrote an exclusive about eBay sellers flogging baby milk for huge sums. It prompted the site to issue warnings & try & stop it. It was followed by other news outlets which is good. It might have gone unnoticed otherwise so, yes, #buyapaper— Anna Roberts (@journoannie) April 7, 2020
Sadly the post was attracted some, shall we say, ‘negative nelly’ opinions on the newspaper itself rather than the story, which is such a shame. Although it absolutely did not take away the powerful message behind the story.
The published piece quickly prompted eBay to identify and issue warnings to users and to stop it. It also gained attention from other media outlets so the story continued to grow and gained even more awareness on the issue.
Had Anna not written this piece, eBay sellers would have continued to sell this essential item at extortionate prices to parents who really needed to feed their babies.
How amazing are these good news stories?!
At the time of writing this article these two examples of how the media is using its influence and powers to help real people were both published within two days of each other. Journalists are working hard to get these good news stories out to us and their voice (and distribution channel!) is hugely important to make a big change when we need it.
We need the media. Whether local or national, they expose stories and awareness on events that could go unnoticed.