November 13, 2017
As executive director of news content for WBUR, Richard Chacón oversees all aspects of local radio and digital news content for WBUR, Boston’s leading public radio station.
Richard’s career includes more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, public affairs, politics and government. As a journalist, Richard has worked at The Boston Globe, where he covered Boston City Hall and higher education and was the Latin America bureau chief, based in Mexico City. He also served as deputy foreign affairs editor and as ombudsman. In addition, he has worked at New York Newsday, WCVB-TV in Boston and KTSM in his native El Paso, Texas.
Beyond journalism, Richard also served as director of communications for Deval Patrick’s gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts, and later served in the governor’s office as director of policy and then as executive director of the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants. He also served as a speechwriter in the New York City mayor’s office under David Dinkins and later as deputy media director for the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
We caught up with Richard prior to the 2017 PRSA Boston Annual Meeting where he is scheduled to give the keynote address. We asked him about the future of news and how media platforms like WBUR are evolving.
What led you to become a journalist and why did you decide to join WBUR?
Endless curiosity – about how things happen, why and about the people involved. I’ve had this curiosity ever since I was a young boy growing up in the desert in El Paso, TX. My very first job was as a newspaper delivery boy. I’ve been blessed to have had some wonderful experiences in print, broadcast and multimedia newsrooms and working with some talented colleagues along the way. I’m especially pleased and proud to help lead one of the biggest and best newsrooms in public radio. As WBUR grows and becomes more of a primary source of news and information – especially during this transformational time in Boston’s history – we have an opportunity and obligation to help lead the public dialogue on many important issues in our community.
Will presenting news to audiences continue to evolve or change in 2018? If so, how?
Newsrooms across Boston and the country are in the midst of rethinking and redefining how they collect and deliver the news – that includes WBUR. We know that over half of our audience experiences our multimedia content through mobile devices, so our content must be mobile friendly. Visual presentations of content – videos, photos, data visualization – are growing in importance for stories, especially those that are shared through social media channels. Although terrestrial radio continues to reach our largest audience, on-demand listening – whether through podcasts or streaming – is growing in popularity for our audience, especially younger listeners and readers. But even amid all of these changes, it is important that we always remain committed to the traditional values of fair, aggressive and transparent journalism.
PR people continue to see the lines are blurring between advertising and editorial. Is this impacting how you and your team at WBUR report news? If so, how?
News organizations are also constantly looking for new business and financial models to help sustain the journalism. Increasingly, we’re seeing the development of “sponsored content” which can sometimes look, walk and quack like newsroom editorial content. As a former ombudsman for the Boston Globe, I think it’s very important that news organizations are both very careful and very clear with audiences about what is advertising and what is news coverage. So far, I believe most organizations – including WBUR – has maintained that line between advertising and editorial but it’s an evolving and ongoing discussions (and debates) that we have on these issues.
Why was it important to develop online niche sites, such as the ARTery and Edify, or podcasts such as Modern Love?
As WBUR continues to grow as a multimedia destination for news and spoken-word content, we are constantly experimenting with new forms of presentations and platforms. We have national programs that reach millions of listeners across the United States; and we have sound-rich podcasts that share peoples’ personal stories and perspectives. In our local newsroom, we’ve developed a number of multimedia content “verticals” as a way to chronicle many of the dynamic sectors that are part of our knowledge-based economy around Boston. We’re building teams of journalists to bring WBUR’s high-quality storytelling to these sectors: “BostonomiX is how we cover tech and innovation; “CommonHealth” covers health and science; The ARTery is how we capture our increasingly diverse arts and culture scene; “Edify” is how we cover the many facets of teaching, learning and education. The great news is we are developing new ones for 2018!
Why is hosting events important to WBUR? How will this continue to evolve in 2018?
WBUR believes it has both an opportunity and responsibility to lead the public conversations on important topics with newsmakers, thought leaders, idea makers and diverse members of our communities. That’s already what we do every day on air and online. We do it through our selection of news stories and topics, our regular use of polling to key issues like the opioid crisis or climate change, and through our growing use of social media and crowd-sourcing. Convening more public events is a natural extension of our role as a public institution. We regularly host public events at WBUR that include many of our journalists. We also sponsor and produce dozens of other events all over the region because we believe strongly in our role of gathering communities together for thoughtful discussion. Sometimes these events can be a source of revenue for us, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to constantly cultivate and grow our public media audience. There will be some more exciting news on this front also in 2018!
Do you have a candidate for a FAST FIVE interview? Email Joshua Milne at firstname.lastname@example.org and pitch your expert!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or board of directors of either organization.
May 29, 2017In Career on
Even talented entrepreneurs, including independent PR practitioners, need consistent income that grows annually. Stable income allows independents to hire, travel, acquire resources, and plan financially. Since more entrepreneurs are failing than ever, how can we ensure we have great clients signing up for our services? How do we make sure we ask for money – the right amount for what we are offering?
When IPN guest speaker Kate Beeders started doing business development for a Fortune 500 company years ago, it was presumed that employees did not have to land their own clients, just service the business. Today, practitioners have to be comfortable having the money conversation as well as doing a great job on the account management side.
First, Kate discussed how to develop a mindset before you start selling your services. (It’s a lot easier to sell someone else’s widgets than your own, by the way.) Develop a mindset to combat giving discounts, trading services and overcome fear of having sales conversations. A mindset is how you see yourself in relation to the outside world (marketing), as well as how you view yourself in relation to the outside world, and the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Mindset is at least 99% of your success and failure – overriding the subconscious mind’s “recording” that keeps you stuck. Kate helps clients overcome these limitations and change your mindset to a positive story.
Kate challenged the IPN meeting attendees to think about these critical questions: ask yourself how your life would change if you could sell with ease. What do you do to “sabotage” your deals? What are you doing to attract what you need? What are you doing to break negative patterns of behavior in your life, brought about by years of conditioning.
Tip: Build your business around your lifestyle, not the reverse. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Be specific.
Think about the history of sales: Ford Motor Company encouraged salespeople to sell based on the shape of people’s heads (open minded, etc.). Dale Carnegie talked more about relationship selling – know, like and trust. Then “barrier selling” became popular: asking qualifying questions. In the 1960s, a dramatic “creating a desire” style emerged, “red is romance” selling. In the 1980s, “spin selling” is about creating a need so people will buy – physical need, emotional need, etc. – and getting people to talk about their dreams (Tony Robbins style). In the 1990s, solution selling became in style, getting in with prospects before the deal goes out to RFP and long-term selling is in favor. Now: commodity selling is in favor: pricing yourself cheap, you can get it anywhere and it doesn’t really matter where you buy it and just is a price comparison.
Jack Canfield once said: “When someone says no, you say next.” and Tony Robbins taught his followers, “People will buy from people that they know, people that they like and people that they trust.”
Sales conversations: are you doing them to get the client, or get the money? People can pick up which one you have chosen.
Three general issues we encounter when it comes to selling
- Money issues
- Time issues
- They’d rather do it themselves
Three reasons why we struggle with sales:
- Believing good products and services sell themselves without actually selling. It just doesn’t happen. Entrepreneurs are good at planning, but don’t spend time getting out and actually selling to people who might want the product someday. Advertising doesn’t build up the “know, like and trust” factor; you still have to have sales conversations.
- Thinking it’s a numbers game – the more prospecting, the better. You are most likely going to do the wrong thing more often. You need to know what to do correctly, and how to connect with people correctly vs. more frequently.
- Focusing on what to say and the client’s objectives solely, and not selling your own services in as well. Pay attention to what is popping into your head for objections while you are listening to the prospect, and know when you can stand on your own two feet to overcome their objections. Don’t get caught up in your own negative story (no time, not good enough, pricing). Be confident or they won’t believe you.
In short, sell from a place of power instead of a place of fear.
Want to learn more about developing your own mindset? Learn more about having sales conversations with coach Kate Beeders and let your true brilliance shine in a two-day workshop from June 22-23 at the Wellesley College Club. If you sign up using the code YES17, you will save money and get a super special seat next to yours truly. Website: http://www.
By Julie Dennehy, APR and President, Dennehy PR
April 23, 2017
“Fake News.” “Alternative Facts.” Until recently, these topics were never a part of the PR conversation. Now, not only is everyone in PR, journalism and beyond talking about them, colleges and universities which specialize in communications studies are trying to figure out how to appropriately address these topics with their students.
There are primers on how to recognize fake websites. Articles are written on how to ferret out fake news from the real thing. How did we get here? One answer, of course, is the rise and explosion of the Internet. There are no longer just journalists trained by the bellwether of CBS Standards and Practices. Now there are citizen journalists and bloggers. Who sets the standards for them? There are literally millions of sites to explore and it is up to the reader to decide which ones are credible.
As PR practitioners, we not only have a responsibility to our clients to ensure that we are promoting their causes and their products to responsible news outlets, but we also have ethical obligations ourselves. Where do we turn for guidance? A good place to start is with our own professional organization, PRSA. Earlier this year, Jane Dvorak, APR Fellow, PRSA Chair of the Society for 2017, issued a statement on Alternative Facts. It began, “Truth is the foundation of all effective communications.” She refers to PRSA’s Code of Ethics as the guidelines in this arena for all PRSA members. Our chapter president, Dan Dent, weighed in as well in the Boston Business Journal.
For those of us who practice public relations, and particularly crisis communications, we know that we are not providing court testimony with a requirement to give “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Our obligation, after all, is to represent our clients’ or organization’s best interests. However, we cannot lie. To knowingly present a falsehood to a journalist or to the public at large ruins our own credibility, as well as that of our clients or the organization that we represent.
If in doubt, print out a copy of the PRSA Guide to Ethics or keep it in an electronic file on your phone or laptop. Refer to it if you have a question. It can become your shield in the war against “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”.
By: Nancy J. Sterling, APR, Ethics Officer, PRSA Boston