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I’m not impressed ABC. Here I am trying to write a positive review of your newsroom, (because lets face it, I’ve liked what I’ve been seeing) and I can’t find it. Seriously. Where is it?

Oh. There’s no link to it from ABC.com? I thought the point of your newsroom was to keep all of your important news in one place, where a member of any of your publics – whether it be the media, your shareholders, or a fan who wants to keep up to date with all things ABC – can quickly get your information.

I’d been looking for nearly half an hour, and gave up. I moved on to find other information. Then, when I was searching for something else altogether, i stumble upon your newsroom. Poor form.

So I’ve found it. Now what? There’s nothing on the front page i couldn’t find on the TV guide channel. Its just your programming schedule.

Oh, here’s a link to your “Daily Press Releases”. And there’s one press release. Where’s the good stuff?

Where’s the stories about you planting trees in local parks, where’s the story about the millions of dollars you’ve donated to communities and countries near and far? I’d even take a press release explaining your side of teh story in some crisis. But you’re giving me nothing! Heck, I know you’re doing this stuff, I found a small section on the ABC homepage about community involvement.

Lets take a look at some good newsrooms, shall we?

  • Coca-Cola – Notice how they shamelessly flaunt their good will actions and their environmental sustainability initiatives. They do that because thats the stuff we want to hear about. Not what is scheduled when…
  • Apple – Do you see the URL on that link? http://www.apple.com/pr. I’m not sure they could have made that easier to find.
  • CBS – If you want to know what you should probably be doing, look to the people who are doing it better than you. Here’s where your competition is making it in the media more than you. These headlines are something a journalist/blogger could work with.

I expected better from you ABC. Maybe you should hire me and I can fix this. Please see my resume and cover letter attached.

It takes two to tango, but it only takes one to televise it.

Grunig & Hunt defined four different models of PR Communication, and every company falls into one of them. (Here’s a brush up on them if you’re having trouble remembering your Intro to PR days). Well, most companies will tell you that they believe they run a two-way symmetric model, but in reality, the best most companies can hope for is the two-way asymmetric model. ABC is no different.

Try as they might, there public is far too large to truly ever have symmetrical communication taking place. very few individuals can truly claim to represent the whole, and so what one member wants, there are probably thousands who don’t want it, and vice versa.

They fall under the two-way asymmetric model because while they can’t possibly listen to everyone, they do actively do research into what their customers want via focus groups and viewer data. They can determine who is watching what, and they can then determine the why. Focus groups help to more closely narrow down what is working and what is not. But ultimately what matters to ABC is which shows will get the ratings, and which shows will not. As a result, they actively listen to their viewers desires, but they often prefer to change the publics’ attitudes rather than change a multi-million dollar show.

ABC knows that the people want to see Danny Bonnaduce dance, because the ratings and the focus groups say so, but they aren’t going to change the format of the show to put him and Johnny Fairplay as partners just because a few fan emails say they’d like to see it.