I know, this is quite a concept. Yet, if public relations professionals inside organizations and in a consulting capacity can specialize in some core competencies, everyone wins.
Why? Because when a connected company, as Kami Huyse writes, is
(1) in the loop - it listens and responds;
(2) nimble - and understands the value of incremental releases;
(3) responsive - as in accelerating solutions for customers;
(4) organized - as in aligned internally, in rhythm with the marketplace externally;
then what the public relations function is doing is valuable to the news new media.
Sure, there are many media outlets who are on Twitter (hat tip to Laura Fitton) and journalists (on Twitter) who are involved in social media and blogs today. They can be on top of a story and research it personally in the stream. However, they may learn only about part of the story in the stream. If the company or topic they are covering is not represented there, they might be missing some critical information. To me journalism - and editorial imprint - remain some of the highest qualities that tell a "must read" publication apart.
Most of the new media versions of the publications we know and have read at some point or another in print, have blogs authored by journalists today. However, as new media properties shift their measurement and profitability to single RSS feeds, how is each niche going to find enough material to fill its stream with news-worthy stories that are not already circulating online?
Many organizations are still very good about holding the news until it's time to share it. There might be already a customers for that product, a success story for that service, an implementation that nobody knows about. Once you pull the trigger on your story, another publication may follow up with the in depth coverage you missed. All because they have a personal relationship with the PR team.
The point is that if the PR team is doing its job, the information is rich with detail, it is already formatted so it can be shared in microformats (such as the sound bytes of summaries and Twitter streams) and is augmented by rich analysis, images, quotes, and more. For time and resource-starved publications this is manna.
I think this would work only in the presence of the requirements above. It's a three-way conversation - it needs to remain meaningful not only for the two parties involved directly (media and PR), it also means to serve the public it was meant for all along. Can public relations save new media? What do you think?