Wednesday, June 21, 2006

News Release Getting a Makeover

By: Monica Faulkenbery, APR, San Antonio PRSA – Published in San Antonio Byline eNewsletter, July 2006

In an age when the vernacular is becoming seemingly space age… vlogging, vloggercon, blogs, vcasts, podcasts…I came across an article that just made me feel like the old hack of years gone by. The article was titled, “The Press Release Is Dead! Long Live the Press Release!” by Shel Holtz.

Some 10 years ago at a national conference I attended, PR icon Pat Jackson, APR declared the demise of the press release, but I refused to believe that would happen. We argued, especially since my job at the time was pretty much being a Pez dispenser for news releases.

Like Holtz, I resisted jumping upon the “press release is dead” bandwagon. One of the main reasons cited for their demise is that most press releases have no news and are poorly written. I think you can say the same for some VNRs also. The drum majors for the “press release is dead” parade say that the “new media can better serve the objectives that press releases have offered in the past.”

In quoting Holtz, “There are plenty of current stories of press release effectiveness. And while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not require material disclosure through press releases, press release services like PR Newswire and Business Wire know how to reach all the right audiences concurrently and satisfy the regulations that do exist.”

So, Holtz and I both concur that the “new” media doesn’t necessarily need to kill the “old” media. The old media must adapt and evolve (and us old hacks with it.)

Shift Communications has now given the press release a “nudge” along its evolutionary path. Shift’s Todd Defren, responding to others calling for press releases to get with the interactive, social, digital era, proposed an approach that would satisfy Defren’s desires. According to Todd, Shift has released a social media press release template, which the company is making available to the profession. (See June 8, 2006 post on this blog.)

Although I’m still an old journalist at heart, I’ve finally resigned myself that I need to get on the bandwagon, or at least acknowledge its existence, and go to the next level of e-news or podrelease or whatever the term is now. (Yes, Pat, roll around in your grave ….although I’m still not saying the press release is dead; I will agree that at the least it is getting a makeover.)

1 comment:

Brian Solis said...

I applaud Todd and the incredible attention his new template has attracted. I wrote a recent
article, that explores this along with the need to improve media/blogger relation in general. There are also recent reports that suggest press releases v1.0 are surpassing traditional news outlets as the main source for information among consumers.