Launch of Meet-the-Media Series (Virtual Townhall)

14 May 2020 – We were delighted to have Haikel Fahim (Region Head, Southeast Asia, Telum Media) join Marcus Loh, (President, IPRS) in a one-to-one conversation for our inaugural online Meet-the-Media series. The half-hour dialogue explored the myriad of changes in the COVID-19 media landscape and how organisations were benefitting from media relationship platforms like Telum Media.

Here are highlights of the conversation (check out our video for the rest):

At a time where people are using social media for news, why has traditional media made a comeback?

People are getting more savvy.  They value credibility and accuracy during serious situations like the COVID-19 outbreak.  Many of the big players within traditional media have capitalised on this and have enjoyed a spike in readership/viewership.

How has Media Relations evolved in this new normal?

More than ever, you should build your relations with the media and share more about yourself. It will be naïve for communicators to stay silent during this period. Otherwise, it will be tougher once we return to some form of normalcy.

The media list is one of the competitive edges of a PR agency and is closely guarded. Is Telum Media eroding that competitive edge by sharing such media information?

In fact, most PR agencies subscribe to us as a platform to value-add to their services. There are many other time-consuming areas for agencies to focus on. We don’t see it as taking business away from the agencies, since we provide them with the tools to engage the media more effectively.  In doing so, we enable practitioners to focus on the core areas that they excel in.

How can Telum Media value-add to an in-house team which may already have a PR agency?

Journalists prefer to reach out directly to the source. Hence, in-house teams may want to maintain their own media relations. Telum Media can assist you with this.  You can use your PR agency to pursue other areas such as storytelling, content creation, or developing crisis communication strategies – and they are brilliant at that.

How different is it to use Telum Media for media engagements as opposed to wire distributors?

I feel that wire distributors are equivalent to casting the net out wide and hoping it sticks. You can do the same with Telum Media but we don’t recommend it. I always tell people not to pitch stories the same way you do a cold call. Work with the media on the story. Find out what they have been writing about recently. We have a questionnaire that we tag to each journalist’s profile which shares their personal interests. For example, knowing that a financial journalist is also interested in football, might help you better engage him. If you have an existing relationship, it becomes easier to interest the journalist with your story.

How do you see the media landscape evolving post-outbreak?

We’ve seen the digital shift over the past eight years. With COVID-19, it is happening at a faster rate. More are leaning towards digital platforms. People are consuming a lot of content during this period.  More from the older demographics are moving online. There will likely be more digital initiatives from the media to make themselves heard.  New content streams are being created. Practitioners can capitalize on these to tell their stories.

There are several Communications students graduating soon. They are likely to be disillusioned with the current job climate which has been badly impacted by COVID-19.  What advice would you have for them?

My CEO (Michael Webster) always tells me that the media industry is all about networking. Build your network.  Approach and learn from people in the industry. Every appointment which I’ve been in was not about me sending in my resume.  It was the result of someone having spoken to me before and referring me to someone else. Build your networks.  It will be something that you will treasure for the rest of your career.  You’ll never know when it will be useful.

What is the relevance of a convening body like IPRS in the industry today?

I’ve always seen IPRS as an integral part of the PR profession in Singapore. Someone needs to represent the profession to give it credibility and to promote it. It is important for us to have the credibility to share our stories.  We should learn from each other and share our knowledge and skills to be better practitioners. There is no better body that can do this than IPRS.