PR and communications professionals from across Canada have come together in Montreal for the Canadian Public Relations Society’s annual conference, which started Sunday and runs through tomorrow. The first day featured conversations about the future of PR, technology, social media and crisis. For those who are unable to attend, we’ve got you covered! Here are the big takeaways from Day One’s keynotes.

JaimeJaime Watt: Why Reputation Representation Should Be A Right

C.E.O. and founder of Navigator Ltd. Jaime Watt opened the conference yesterday stating, “The public has knowingly sacrificed accuracy for speed,” when it comes to social media and the how we consume news and other information. He emphasized that just as we have the right to legal representation in the courts, we deserve reputational counsel in times of public relation crisis.

Watt went on to say that the speed of the media today eclipses sense and reason and the court of public opinion can be an echo chamber of incomplete or inaccurate information. As a result, he emphasized that brands and individuals need reputational defense, via their PR representatives crisis management strategy, the same way those who have been charged criminally need lawyers.

“No comment is no longer an option,” he said.

In PR and public affairs today authenticity is paramount and the public is too smart and content-hungry to allow brands to hide behind the sentiment. His advice? Quite simply, respond and take action in a vein that aligns with your organizational values.

Dr. Laura Toogood: The Evolution of PR and Journalism

toogoodA recognized expert in her field, Dr. Laura Toogood is the founder of Digitalis Reputation and author of Journalism and PR, News Media and Public Relations in the Digital Age In her afternoon presentation, she explained that as an industry, journalism and PR are more intertwined than ever before.

“Today journalists and publications rely on the content produced by public relations professionals and brands,” said Toogood.

Her analysis found that traditional media publications are now competing directly with social media, citizen journalists, bloggers and influencers for readership and advertising dollars.

“The industry has been injured, and it has had to adapt to the new format,” she said, adding that today it isn’t just journalists and PR professionals who affect readership, but S.E.O. and S.E.M. specialists and developers alike.

Follow us on Twitter @Cision_Canada for live updates on the conference. See part two of our recap of a presentation by National PR on the importance of fairness in communications and a discussion on sponsorship with Olympic Gold Medalist Alex Bilodeau. 

About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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