COVID-19 Comms: Media Angles in the Post-Pandemic World
After two months of lockdowns and restrictions, the COVID-19 situation in APAC is lightening up. Markets such as Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam are soldiering on with their economic activities and recovery plans to catch up with revenue gaps.
With the latest developments, media angles have also evolved. Earlier this month, media outlets told PR Newswire that their focus was on corporate social responsibility efforts and human interest stories on goodwill contributions. With markets transiting to the recovery stage, how will editorial directions shift in tandem? We speak to two Hong Kong-based journalists Cynthia Chak, Senior Reporter of Sky Post and Rick Boost, Regional Editor at Marketing Magazine to get their views on the post COVID-19 media coverage.
According to data from the Cision Communications Cloud®, some hard news topics are gaining traction in the Hong Kong media landscape since early May when social distancing measures were eased. They include pertinent issues such as rental and leasing concessions in the embattled retail sector, the introduction of quarantines and monitoring of inbound travelers, and the employment support scheme and subsidies to provide support to the workforce.
During the peak of the pandemic in March, most companies avoid issuing corporate news releases, especially those on award announcements, product launches and talent appointments. However, the number of news on product launches and corporate announcements rebounded from mid-April, with more companies resuming business.
The Media’s Perspective
Regional Editor (Hong Kong), Marketing Magazine
Editorial outlets are exposing any bright sides to the situation and their benefits in these stressful times. Some of the issues that have emerged are how people from all walks of life are working from home and how those, who are not as tech-savvy, are picking up digital skills.
However, I think these story angles are evolving as we reflect on working in a post-pandemic world. Some aspects will resemble post-apocalyptic hyperboles on rebuilding societies, while some changes will be short-lived until normality resumes.
Covering B2B industry news
Hearing about industry awards these days immediately gives people a mild shock. Awards are from the “before time” when people could still meet in physical groups. The first thing to consider about writing such news is the safety precautions of organising these events and if there are interesting methods that have allowed events to retain some element of glamour or fun.
PR professionals often forget that journalists are more likely to cover smaller events that provide concrete and well-organized information than potentially huge events with no real information on hand. Providing figures, quotes, and a clear description of the details give us what we need far more than a hundred adjectives about how wonderful the news is. If a product can help people during this awful time, don’t just say it’s great, explain to us what it does.
Senior Reporter(Local news), Sky Post
During the outbreak phase, I mostly reported on the depressing situation in the travel and F&B industry and how industry players are coping with the decline in market revenue. The media focused on stories on corporate social responsibility and contributions from good Samaritans. Now, we follow up on the state of the economy such as government employment protection policies, subsidies from various parties, and the disbursement of funds to people.
On the consumer market:
Theme parks and major shopping malls are key areas in my current news focus. During the lockdown, malls experienced such a significant reduction in footfall that they became ghost towns and shops are no longer renewing their leases.
Although the infection rates have subsided, the Individual Visit Scheme, which allows travelers from Mainland China to visit Hong Kong and Macau, remains halted. How are retailers dealing with this roadblock? How brands can retain their customers through lucky draws and gift vouchers? How landlords are subsidizing rental rates to tenants?
On the education sector:
Besides addressing the emotional toll that the COVID-19 situation has imposed on students, the resumption of classes in secondary schools raises concerns on the adequacy of hygiene measures in campuses. For graduating students in universities, how will their job prospects be affected, and which industries are providing internships that can lead to full-time job opportunities?
On public health concerns:
Sports facilities, such as swimming pools, have re-opened. Will sports activities spark a second wave of the outbreak? I will also look into stories that provide updates on how the impact of public health conditions by easing local social-distancing measures.
On the business world:
Some key questions on my mind: Which industries have stopped hiring new talent? What are the latest developments on resuming government services, such us conducting driver’s license tests?
This article is written by Kate Wong, Audience Development Manager at PR Newswire and Yannis Leung, an Audience Development Intern, who is an English Studies undergraduate at the City University of Hong Kong.