Newmark Group Limited, a leading Pan-African Integrated Marketing Communications firm, held a webinar session with leading Pan-African experts from public relations and media to address the growing threat of disinformation and its adverse impact.
The webinar held under the theme “Collaborating for Success: Unleashing the Synergy Between Media and PR Practitioners” was in commemoration of World PR Day 2023 and aimed at highlighting the importance of collaboration between PR Practitioners and media professionals necessary to create impactful narratives, build strong brands, and foster meaningful connections with target audiences.
The relationship between media and PR has been dynamic and interdependent throughout history. However, the digital age has disrupted this dynamism, with social media empowering individuals and challenging traditional PR tactics. This has called for reflecting on the transformative journey of media and PR, emphasizing the crucial need for transparent and ethical communication.
Speaking at the session, Mr. Gilbert Manirakiza, CEO of Newmark Group, said public relations and journalism are interconnected and dependent on trust. As the media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented and the explosion of content automation looms, collaboration becomes more crucial than ever, Mr Manirakiza says.
“We must navigate this changing landscape together, ensuring that human-generated content remains distinguishable and trustworthy amidst the rise of machine-generated content,” he says.
“In the face of Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominance, our partnership must grow stronger to safeguard the integrity of information. In Africa, where technology consumption is high, we have a unique role in mediating and engaging with these currents.”
The webinar featured a panel of industry leaders, including Manirakiza, Ms Omawumi Ogbe, Managing Partner for GLG Communications in Nigeria, Mr Joel Chacha, Director at Portland Communications in Kenya, Ms Dzifa Bampoh, Manager of Corporate Communications at GRIDCo Ghana, and Mr Sulaiman Aledeh, a renowned Nigerian Journalist.
Mr Joel Chacha said in the era of convergence and the shrinking news landscape, the challenge of capturing attention is universal. Attention spans have dwindled, and relatability and authenticity become paramount. In order to solve these challenges, we need to anchor our content in data and research, ensuring that strategic insights back every product launch or campaign,” he said.
Since its inception in 2021, World PR Day has been held to recognize the power and influence of public relations in shaping opinions, driving change, and fostering understanding. This annual event serves as a reminder of PR’s pivotal role in modern society, promoting effective communication practices globally.
Ms Omawumi Ogbe, Managing Partner for GLG Communications in Nigeria, emphasised that “the future of PR lies in embracing technology while staying rooted in our humanity. As we leverage AI, big data, and new media platforms, let’s remember the power of authenticity and traditional values.”
We must ensure that messaging respects local cultures while embracing digital strategies
She said marrying the past and the future allows the industry to maintain balance and ethical practices. “PR means Public Relations, but the P equally stands for people, and by combining traditional and new approaches, we can set ourselves apart and deliver meaningful, ethical communication in the ever-evolving landscape.”
The webinar served as a platform for professionals and student bodies from various African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Burundi, Ivory Coast, and others, to collectively learn the power of collaborations in harnessing public relations across diverse fields.
Addressing the importance of marrying traditional media with digital media, Ms Dzifa Bampoh said, “In the dynamic realm of African public relations, the growth of conglomerates brings opportunities and challenges. We must ensure that messaging respects local cultures while embracing digital strategies.”
Mr Sulaiman Aledeh, a distinguished Nigerian Journalist, highlighted the significance of collaboration, stating: “As a journalist, embracing PR concepts allows you to uncover hidden narratives and shed light on untold stories. To excel in both fields, one must master the art and trade of each one, recognizing the unique value they bring to the African media landscape.”
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