Media Perspectives from Thalia Assuras
Adam recently asked some questions of Thalia Assuras, who has more than 30 years of experience as a broadcast journalist, writer, strategic communications counselor, media trainer and public speaker. Today, she partners with clients to meet all their communications challenges. She has performed at the highest levels of broadcast journalism as an anchor and correspondent at the ABC and CBS television news networks and at Canada’s CTV and Global CanWest networks. Currently, Assuras Communications and ASPR have a strategic partnership that helps clients achieve their goals.
Adam: Tell us about some of your most memorable assignments.
Thalia: Well, the list is much too long but I’ll pick three. I spent several weeks in Iraq in 2003 working with terrific journalists, producers and crews covering the conflict from a number of angles—on U.S. military patrols on the streets of Baghdad, when protests and violence first broke out in Fallujah, with Iraqi families who had so many stories to tell. On the lighter side, I covered the Olympics in Athens in 2004—two weeks of sport, culture and security issues. And finally, every day as a news anchor, evening news and two-hour morning broadcasts brought new and intriguing challenges.
Adam: The media environment is rapidly changing. Does the way we think about telling stories need to change as well?
Thalia: There are new tricks and tools and technologies that help the process today but the fundamental thinking remains the same: good storytelling is the key. That’s how an audience/reader is drawn in and held, no matter the visuals, the production magic, the writing (which is critical, though, don’t get me wrong). The compelling character(s) and the compelling reason for the story are what make it happen in the first place.
Adam: What should clients keep in mind when working with a PR firm and trying to gain attention?
Thalia: One of the most important things to remember is that a PR firm is not out to “sell” a client’s product, issue or service. The goal is to press—or as ASPR rightly says, “uncover”—a client’s story: How people’s daily lives are affected or might be changed and improved by being aware of what that organization has to offer.