In media relations directors often have to

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In today’s
increasingly intricate and connected sociotechnical world, media relations have
evolved as an important tool for highlighting brand agendas and identities. The
media is employed as a vehicle for disseminating brand communications into the
world (Ray, 2016a; Salzman, 2016).  This
can include news stories about companies’ new products, socially responsible
initiatives, charity work, crisis management, and more. Utilizing the media as
a “tool for influence” is a complicated and fast-paced job completed by a media
relations director  (Salzman, 2016). A
media relations director operates in tandem with various news sources to inform
consumer audiences about the practices, operating principles, and
organizational mission of a client or company (Roberts, 2016; Baduel, 2017).
This includes organizational goals, achievements, and policies (Baduel, 2017). Media
coverage can build and maintain brand reputations, share company news, control
the framing of a crisis, and influence policy (Ray, 2016a; Talley, 2017). Essentially,
a media relations officer directs brand narratives by managing communication
from the company, to the media, and ultimately to the consumer (Talley, 2017). Media
coverage is advantageous in that it reaches a large audience at a low cost, and
acts as a third party endorsement, which lends increased credibility to brand statements
(Ray, 2016b; Roberts, 2016; Henderson & Freymouth, 2017).

            A media relations director garners
media coverage through the skilled implementation of preparatory practices. This
includes in-depth research into prospective media outlets, the media
environment, and the current sociopolitical atmosphere (Grossman, 2015).
Further work includes monitoring press coverage, generating press kits, writing
press releases, managing social networking sites, leading media briefings, and
crafting media statements (Talley, 2017). Directors prepare visuals, videos,
spokespeople, experts, quotes, and other press materials for media usage
(Grossman, 2015). Importantly, media relations directors often have to “earn”
coverage from media outlets by foraging strong reciprocal relationships with
content producers and journalists 
(Obrien, 2014; Roberts, 2016). Using the media as a vehicle for
promoting clients via controlled publicity is only possible after carefully
engaging with editors and reporters (Obrien, 2014). This can include exchanging
information, providing sources, offering exclusives, and providing meaningful content
(Grossman, 2015). Consequently, directors should be skilled and personable
communicators, familiar with the media landscape, have comprehensive digital
skills, and a familiarity with social media and networking (Talley, 2017).

            The expectations and duties
surrounding media relations officers are well known, however it is unclear how
sociopolitical climates affect the work. Media directors do not operate in a
vacuum; there are important real world climates that dictate appropriate
courses of action. Given the significant impact media work can have on brands,
and consequently brand economic value, it is important to understand how media
personnel juggle social climates.

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