Thursday, March 02, 2006

Does the News Release Need a Facelift?

The entire blogoshere is currently abuzz with a recurring them, is the press release dead? The theme, or meme, comes up every two months or so, and online writers have been declaring the death of the press release for years.

So much talk has occurred around the meme (or idea) of the press release is dead that whenever it comes up again, everyone writes a reactionary response about their entrenched opinion and goes on with their life, only to have another boxing round again in about two to three months. I admit that I have done it myself on my Communication Overtones blog.

I think that everyone agrees on the following points:
  • The press, or news release, is something that has been entrenched in the media/PR culture
  • The format can lead to overblown claims and other information
  • Reporters generally use information from only a fraction of the releases they receive
  • Some releases are written better than others

Very few have offered a true alternative, and fewer yet a sample of what they think a press release should look like. Here are a few that have:

I must admit that I like the idea of a modular news release. It fits with today’s mad pace of 24 hour news and is easy to read. I think that by linking to online sources and giving direct numbers, the “release” becomes even more valuable. If a reporter can get his or her story written with minimal contact with the PR folks it really is better. I work this way with reporters all the time and they usually appreciate it and call back for more information. However, Todd disagrees with me on this and wants to maintain a little more control.

All of this said, modular formatting, fact sheets or any other format we may dream up, does not prevent bad writing or a blatant marketing focus from emerging. So many have said it over the past few days – in the end it boils down to the competence of the human behind the format.

1 comment:

LeverWealth said...

Yes, you may be right that XPRL is more difficult to grasp than a press release about the science behind whether Pluto is a planet (if we believe that, we are really in trouble)what is a problem is that the PR industry did not see how it could make money from it.

Because there is an XPRL meeting Thu, Sep 14 3pm Home House, 20 Portman Square, London W1 I have posted a backgrounder.