Media Panel Co-Hosted by JSPPA and PRSA

One Hundred Communication Professionals and Students in Attendance

Media-Panel_JSPPA_and_PRSA“Beyond Likes, Tweets and Check-Ins: How to Make Real News” was a media panel jointly hosted by Jersey Shore Public Relations and Advertising (JSPPA) and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) NJ chapter at the Blue and White Club in the Multipurpose Activity Center on Wednesday, April 17.

The event gave 100 media professionals and communication students an insight into the media industry and where the industry is heading.

Panelists included Christopher Sheldon, Long Branch-Eatontown editor of, Gina Columbus, The Asbury Park Press staff writer and former editor-in-chief ofThe Outlook, Sally Pakutka, manager of News Aggregation of The Asbury Park Press, Brian Thompson, New Jersey Correspondent for NBC4 New York, and Allison Gibson, assistant news director of News 12 New Jersey.

The moderator, Greg Weber of Garden State Press Clipping Service, questioned the panel about their opinions on the roles social media plays in reporting and various other topics including pitching stories and the future of media.

“Twitter is like a news feed for me, like a modern-day version of the old AP wire,” said Thompson.

The Asbury Park Press uses Twitter and Facebook pretty much to get sources and to crowd-source,” said Pakutka. “It’s a quick way to get feedback.”

Gibson gave more of a managing aspect behind social media.

“We actually get reports of what is trending, what everyone who is following us on our Facebook page, our website, and our Twitter page is following, which tells us what the biggest story is in social media.” Gibson continued, “Knowing that sometimes can be a revelation because those of us in the newsroom might have our heads on another story when we realized that maybe we should be paying a little bit more attention to something that everyone else is talking about.”

Weber transitioned the conversation to potential stories and how each panelist advises communication and media professionals in the most effective methods to pitch a story.

“Email is always effective,” said Sheldon. “As far as the type of stories, as long as it has a local angle, or at least a regional angle to it.”

“Pitching it too far in advance; something that is three weeks from now in terms of the news business, you might as well tell us it’s in 2014,” said Gibson.

Weber followed up with the future of the news business and introduced the future of the media industry and what will be trending in the next few years.

“To predict where we’re going to be two, three, four years from now is a very hazardous undertaking, in my opinion,” said Thompson.

All panelists did agree that throughout all of the change in the media industry, how many people are viewing your content and its value are key.

“It’s exciting to be starting out at this time when there’s so much change. Even though there’s so much that is unknown, it’s a sense of anticipation and really just going in head first,” said Columbus. “Even though you don’t know where things are going to end up, you’re a part of that and you’re a part of that adaption.”

The full hour and a half panel can be heard online through a podcast created by Steve Lubetkin, APR, Fellow, PRSA.

Thompson is an Emmy Award winning reporter who joined NBC4 in 1998 covering New Jersey. Prior to joiningWNBChe worked for five years in Washington, D.C., covering the White House, Capitol Hill, and the Supreme Court.

Pakutka began her career with The Asbury Park Press in 2001 as editor of New Publications and was named “Local News Editor” in 2010. She started her current position in January. She has been a newspaper journalist for nearly three decades.

Sheldon has worked at two hyper-local news publications before joining Patch, including the Westerly Sun in Rhode Island and theOcean Starin Point Pleasant Beach.

Columbus joined Gannett’s Talent Development Program in 2012. She serves as a metro reporter and writes lifestyles and features pieces, developed in multiple media platforms. Columbus has a Bachelors in communication from the University.

Gibson has served as Assistant News Director at News 12 New Jersey for the past 17 years, working to launch the channel in March 1996, and establishing it as New Jersey’s own television station and place to go to for local news.

The Jersey Shore Public Relations and Advertising Association is joining forces with the Public Relations Society of America NJ Chapter to provide members with top level professional development and networking opportunities. To learn more about other events hosted by PRSA NJ, please visit their website at Information on upcoming JSPRAA events can be found at Membership information and applications can also be found on the organization website.

PHOTO COURTESY of Steven Lubetkin