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August 2nd, 2017

Newsjacking: The Rewards and Risks of Leveraging Breaking News (Preview)

By Jeff Calaway

We take the term “newsroom” quite literally at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, Texas.

Every morning at 9:15, our small PR group of four gathers in a tight conference room to discuss what we will be covering for that day. Just like newsrooms all across the country.

Jeff Calaway

Our goal is to find something informative and interesting, where our voice is actually needed.

Even though our department is PR, we don’t want anything too PR. Yuck. We want to write something with substance. We want to get involved in the conversation of the day or better yet, start the conversation of the day, in hopes media will then contact us and spread our message to their audiences.

Sharing timely, accurate information

Because of the journalistic background of two-thirds of us and because we have been given the trust by leadership to do (almost) anything we want, “newsjacking” has become an important part of what we do to make sure information is timely, accurate and informative.

When a child died in Houston from what his parents said was dry drowning, we reached out to one of our PICU doctors. She didn’t like the information that was out in the media and wanted to participate in the story so she could provide education and accurate medical information to the public.

When we read a story that Texas led the nation in inappropriate relationships between parents and teachers, we talked to one of our child abuse physicians about the impact this has on a child. Within an hour after the story was published, a radio station in Dallas called and asked to interview that doctor.

We’ve written about Miley Cyrus’ antibiotic allergies and how speech therapy helped Ronda Rousey.

Each time we create a story and establish our physicians and other clinicians as experts.

We’ve even written articles on the most polarizing man on the planet right now – Donald Trump.

  • So why did we begin newsjacking?
  • How did we get so successful at it?
  • When do we feel like we’re doing it too much?
  • What are the advantages of newsjacking? What are the disadvantages?
  • What do you have to avoid?

I would love to answer all of these questions and I will if you attend The Mayo Clinic Social Media Network Annual Conference Dec. 11-12, 2017, at the Scottsdale Arizona campus. Read the overview and see the full conference schedule.

Jeff Calaway is a Senior Content Specialist at Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tags: Annual Conference, Annual Conference, case study, Cook Children's Health Care System, Jeff Calaway, Newsjacking

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