From Brexit to Trump
From Brexit to the election of Donald Trump, and now the snap General Election, it certainly feels like my PR career – only just more than a year old – so far has seen one political surprise too many, and it looks like these political events have shocked many in the media too. In fact, the day before the EU referendum, one national journalist quipped that his paper had not written any stories that considered a Leave win for publication the following day.
As for the snap General Election, this announcement came from 10 Downing Street following the Easter Bank Holiday – oh to be a political correspondent on that day!
Perhaps these surprises go some way to explaining why papers are still relentlessly pursuing Brexit and Trump stories today. Brexit in particular has reignited the curiosity in many journalists; they are desperately seeking answers. Whether national or trade, online or print, they want research, facts and figures – any evidence that shows an intention among businesses, entrepreneurs, or anyone else to leave or remain in the UK after Brexit.
For businesses, this of course is a sensitive issue. The wrong story about Brexit can damage confidence, influence share price, and ultimately harm long-term growth prospects. Assuaging a journalist’s desire for a Brexit angle against what’s appropriate for the business is therefore challenging.
The Brexit negotiations will begin just 11 days after the General Election, and the new reality for the UK will undoubtedly sink in. It will also, however, accelerate the media’s appetite for Brexit scoops – except this time they will expect news that shows how it tangibly affects business. As such, managing journalist relations will become not only become more difficult, but also more important.