Media Relations

The ever-changing media environment, as told by Harbinger panelists

It’s clear that the traditional media landscape today is changing dramatically and at a rapid pace: consolidation of media outlets, termination of community and daily newspapers, staff shortages, high demand to break through the clutter and reach the masses through earned approaches – all with the speculation that Print. Is. Dying!

Launching a food product in Canada

The Harbinger Media Panel: (left-to-right) April Kalloo, Sabrina Maddeaux, Matthew Pierce, Lora Grady, Carly Ostroff

While some of these factors are out of our control and unpredictable, we as PR professionals have the expertise and strategic insight on how to effectively work with media to secure coverage for clients given these limitations and roadblocks.

This month, Harbinger hosted five panelists who specialize across various beats and mediums to discuss the media industry holistically through their experience as notable journalistic voices:

  • April Kalloo, Segment Producer, Breakfast Television
  • Sabrina Maddeaux, Society Editor, Arts & Style Columnist at National Post and Beauty & Style Expert as seen on Cityline Canada. (has contributed to FASHION Magazine, The Globe and Mail, ELLE Canada, NOW Magazine and 24 hours Toronto)
  • Matthew Pierce, Producer, Newstalk 1010 (The Weekend Morning Show with Dave Trafford, Let’s Eat with Zane Caplansky, Saturdays with Ted Woloshyn, The Best Show Ever! With Mark Towhey, Desmond Cole, Tim Hudak, and more)
  • Lora Grady, Senior Editor, Walmart Live Better (has contributed to Flare Magazine, Chatelaine, The Kit, Style at Home, Canadian Health & Lifestyle, and more)
  • Carly Ostroff, Editorial and Broadcast Freelancer (Flare Magazine, FASHION Magazine, The Kit, S Magazine, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and more)

This panel of experts helped to glean insights on specific themes and questions. Through candid discussion and thought-provoking questions, it became evident that PR professionals continue to play a strong role in developing content and have one shot at standing out to making a lasting impression:

  • 1. Collaboration and mutually beneficial results

    Like any relationship, it cannot be self-serving. It is imperative to establish and maintain trust and respect.

    Media understand the push and pull between PR professionals, their clients, and objectives. Media relations is an art, and it requires strategic, creative and personalized storytelling. Insight from our panel gave us a richer understanding on how to more effectively collaborate with them on content development that depicts the brand in a positive light and simultaneously intrigues their audience.

    “Agencies need to specifically target the writer/producer and have an understanding of their content and the outlet when pitching media contacts.”

  • 2. Securing (earned) coverage

    Believe it: traditional media is here to stay; how we work with media and determine fit for our client’s in this landscape is our specialty. Placing a client, product, service in the news still provides credibility and unbiased point of views. In fact, 65%¹ of Canadians have trust in the media, which emphasizes its continued relevancy to consumers.

    While earned coverage is still of the utmost importance, paid strategies can also contribute to a successful campaign and require careful consideration of editorially relevant content and fit.

  • 3. Maintaining credibility and trust

    Consumers are extremely savvy and understand the difference between unbiased and sponsored content. An ongoing challenge is to ensure trust, especially as brands turn to more paid and sponsored content. The future of traditional media relations rests on this fine balance between organic content and paid sponsorships. Thankfully, our insightful panelists were able to give us context into how we should navigate this transformation as we move towards a new era of traditional media.

We’d love to help you, so give us a call!

1. Trust in the media fell 4% in past year: Ipsos poll (

Harbinger is a Toronto-based North American marketing agency with expertise in product launches. We help brands get noticed and purchased.


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