One of the side effects of working in a PR agency is often losing touch with the reality of journalism. In other words, not having a clear understanding of who the people in the media are and what they do.
Sometimes, it’s because those of us on the other side of the fence are losing our memory of what it’s like to work in a newsroom. We might only remember what it was like when we were there, and things were different, and everything was still paid in pesetas. Other times, it’s because young people come into communications consultancy straight from university and don’t have the experience of working in the media.
Whatever the reason, the result is often a stark disconnect between agencies and the media. This disconnect is not only about a lack of knowledge of the people on the other side, but also about their working dynamics and day-to-day lives. For example, who are reporters accountable to, and on what basis are they scrutinized?
Our solution: let’s meet them
APPLE TREE PRESS was created to bring the two worlds together in the relaxed atmosphere of an informal chat between in-house consultants and a group of guest journalists, who drop by our offices in Barcelona and Madrid on a monthly basis.
The idea is for the APPLE TREE team to learn about the experiences of these guests, their day-to-day work, the values and positions of the media they work for and their notion of journalism. In short, everything that can generate an exchange of ideas and encourage new perspectives, as well as helping to sharpen the shot and get it right. The work of transferring and proposing appropriate and strategically selected content. The opposite of the hackneyed killing of flies with cannons, consisting of pounding journalists’ databases with thousands of notes and e-mails, regardless of their areas of coverage. And if it works, it works.
In short, anything that can generate an exchange of ideas and encourage new perspectives, as well as help to refine the message and get it right. The work of conveying and proposing appropriate and strategically selected content. The opposite of the oft-used cracking a nut with a sledgehammer which consists of bombarding databases of journalists with thousands of notes and emails, regardless of their areas of coverage. And if it sticks, it sticks.
Another subsidiary idea of the initiative is to build, like a puzzle, a snapshot of the Spanish journalistic landscape. This includes media outlets, media groups, and the profession itself: the day-to-day, the possible career paths, and the different areas of specialization. A whole array with which a good corporate communication consultant should be familiar if they want to be truly connected.
What is said at the APPLE TREE PRESS stays at the APPLE TREE PRESS.
It is an internal event focused on bringing value and knowledge to the in-house team. In this sense, with complete confidence and informality, everything said in an APPLE TREE PRESS session stays behind closed doors. This gives the guests complete freedom to explain their work in an unrestricted and often detailed way that is very useful for the attendees.
These sessions must be doing something right, given the illustrious guests they’ve attracted so far: José Orihuel, the Catalan delegate of Expansión; Sergi Saborit, the director of The New Barcelona Post; Christian de Angelis, the director of Cinnamon Press; Eduardo Magallón, the economics journalist at La Vanguardia; Álex Gubern, the Catalan delegate of ABC; Mar Padilla, the freelance journalist who collaborates with El País and Jot Down, among others; Víctor Manuel Amela, one of the people behind the legendary Contra secion of La Vanguardia; and Javi Gomara, the journalist at Mundo Deportivo.
The APPLE TREE consultants certainly benefit from these meetings by getting to know the journalists and their work well.
Finally, these sessions offer the opportunity for professionals from the other side of the information fence to finally put faces to names in a relaxed atmosphere. This is often an atmosphere full of amusing anecdotes and a forum for exchanging opinions, ideas, and tips that are invaluable for our daily work.