This week Google changed the media relations game. Now, it seems, we can send a cheery gif to mainstream media (via blog or our channel of choice) that expresses not only our organisation's perspective of the news story or issue but also a visual insight as to how we feel about it all.
I have to say hats-off to Rachel Whetstone, SVP Communications and Policy at Google for her creative and honest approach.
Probably only Google - or possibly Facebook - could have got away with such a response at the moment but I suspect that other organisations will happily follow her lead as mainstream media diminishes in power and influence.
In the last year or so, other organisations have tentatively attempted to use their websites and other channels to correct the balance when it comes to mainstream media stories - even if it isn't with the panache displayed by Google's VP. All organisations are news publishers as well as news providers and so, as publishers, they can tell their own story, own their own narrative and explain their perspective on things. That's not to say that everyone will agree with their version of the story or even their perspective, but at least they have the opportunity to disagree with it at source rather than see a fragment, a smidge of commentary or a scanty quote buried in a third party's interpretation of a situation.
Over the decades, the journalist's call has struck dread in the hearts of many organisations - not because they don't want to comment or engage but because they know the chance of fair representation or balanced comment is remote. Publications and journalists alike arrive on the doorstep with an agenda (commercial or political) and will, in many instances, adjust the story to fit their predetermined frame - yet few practitioners have been brave enough to challenge the approach of those who are simply trolling for a tale.
Thankfully, journalistic integrity still exists - harder to find - but there nonetheless. For those journalists, concerned with fair reporting, breaking stories that inform, expose or prompt change, an insouciant organisational attitude will be unhelpful and damaging for all involved.
It will be absorbing to watch the coming transformation. Will journalists challenge the developing 'new norm' and will spokespeople be brave enough to challenge old school traditions in media relations? We shall see - but I suspect it may be some time before the evolution is complete.