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Maintaining good media relations is critical to achieving corporate communication goals, strategies, and objectives. This perspective was emphasized at the “Working with the Media” professional development workshop hosted by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Barbados on Thursday, April 13, at the Island Inn Hotel. The panel of speakers included Chief, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Barbados, Novaline Brewster, Chief Operating Officer of PRMR Inc., Janelle Riley-Thornhill, and Managing Director of Nisa Communications, Sara Odle.
IABC Barbados President Dr. Pamala Proverbs, in her opening remarks, communicated the importance of workshops of this nature, noting that media engagement is crucial to successfully implementing communication plans. She also encouraged fellow practitioners to continue building a strong professional organization to gain local recognition for communications as a viable profession. “It is not by chance that professions such as medicine, accounting and law have robust associations. It is through organizations like these that professions are recognized. It is through organizations like these that we grow our craft through professional development and ethical standards of conduct. This is what we communicators need to do to earn and maintain our seat in the C-Suite. We cannot do it through the success of the odd individual,” she told the audience made up of practitioners at all different career stages.
Dr. Proverbs further encouraged the practitioners to utilize the IABC hub, online courses, and accreditation opportunities available for continuous professional development. The President’s welcome was followed by a robust discussion by the panelists on fostering strong media relationships, writing news releases, and seeking positive news coverage.
In her opening comments, Corporate Communications Chief at the Central Bank, Novaline Brewster, noted that, “We must recognize that the media are people as well and must be respected.” This opinion resonated with the communications community present, as they all agreed that friendships often developed with their media counterparts based on years of interaction.
This view was supported by PRMR Inc’s Chief Operating Officer, Janelle Riley-Thornhill, who provided key insight as a former journalist at The Barbados Advocate. She advised professionals to consider a practice where top executives are available to the media to enable reliable sources of information to be conveyed.
Managing Director of Nisa Communications Sara Odle reminded the audience that “how we carry ourselves as a profession is important.”
Several of the audience members also contributed to the discussion. Head of Television at The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and IABC Member Jewel Forde encouraged members that they should remember not just to plan for print, but for broadcast and to be reminded of the media programming times and who in the organization should receive their releases. Barbados Accreditation Council’s Information Officer Marcus Myers added, “It was very engaging and insightful. I really enjoyed it. It is good to hear persons on the ground who have lived these things and how they have learnt the dos and don’ts the hard way. I want to integrate everything that they have learnt in my daily life at the Council.”
IABC Barbados will continue its programming throughout the year with both networking sessions and professional development workshops. The online and in-person activities of the International Association of Business Communicators further support professional development sessions of this nature. Applications for IABC membership can be made at https://iabcbarbadosbb.com/membership/