Amith Prabhu: The crucible called Media Lists

24 Feb,2014

By Amith Prabhu


Indian PR firms are differentiated based on two factors – their ability to attract and retain high quality talent and the capacity this talent has to have good relationships with the media. A media list is still the harbinger of good Public Relations and for many a client nothing else matters. This column throws some light on the power of a good media list and the demerits of sharing it publicly.


India still does not have a service provider that maintains and manages media lists that can be efficiently used for media relations and by the PR fraternity. While Bhuvaneshwari Joshi pioneered the Media Movements page on Facebook with good intention, most often that and other related pages are abused with random requests. With all due respect, our clients (who may or may not be former consultancy staff) and their bosses will not be able to respect us until we get this act together.


Several PR firms because of the folly of some of their not-so-well-trained staff are the butt of jokes among journalist circles because of the haphazard way they engage with media. Several PR firms across the board still take the maintenance of a robust list as a very casual affair. Some professionals find short cuts to call their friends at a competitor firm asking for a media list.


Absence of updated media lists lead to several journalists receiving calls long after they have moved on from one media outlet to another showing the caller in poor light. Organising lists for the fraternity and then making the right use of them can go a long way in commanding respect. It is time to build an exchange that is the repository of journalist database (at least general information can be made available publicly) either accessible through a login or through a subscription.


Media lists are indeed a crucible for the fraternity – a crucible that makes or breaks reputation of the individual, of the firm and of the profession. If the community of professionals can come together to put this part of the house in order there is hope for the profession. If not, we will merely be a sophisticated courier service with a few add-ons thrown in.


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