The death of the press release is a favourite topic for media and communications professionals. Recently, it flared up again when Alex Aiken, executive director of US government communications made the (bold?) declaration that, yes, the press release is dead.
Aiken’s argument, as described by PR Week is that public relations pros should be content producers. Here’s the quote:
“You should not start with three pages of A4, but a tweet, an infographic or a video. If you are writing more than 200 words on any subject, you’re probably in the wrong place.”
I understand where Aiken is coming from. Social media has changed the way we get our messages out. I would argue no profession knows that better than journalists, who not only use Twitter and Facebook (and others) as a listening tool, but perhaps more importantly as a platform to project their content. Read More
Batman and the Joker; Superman and Lex Luthor; Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine — on the one side are the forces of light, truth and justice. On the other are villains and rogues. Many reporters and editors view the worlds of journalism and public relations through a similar lens. Journalists are the heroes trying to expose the truth while PR pros are the villains trying to shield or promote their clients. The two sides couldn’t possibly be more different.
I know this because I’m a former reporter and editor who moved from journalism to PR just over six years ago. When I began my journalism career in the late 1990s I viewed PR people as obstacles who were trying to prevent me from getting the “real” story. As time passed, I realized PR professionals could help by putting me in touch with knowledgeable sources in time to meet deadlines.
Eventually I decided it was time for a new challenge in my career and made the switch to PR. Read More
I first entered the madcap world of PR back in 1999 where I remained for five years before taking a career break in 2004. As it turned out, the break was far from permanent and in 2011 I was drawn back into the fold.
Like Rip Van Winkle, I awoke from my seven year sleep slightly bewildered and anxious to see what changes had been made in the communications field. I was immediately struck by two things: nothing had changed and everything had changed. That is, the actual objectives of public relations and the fundamental strategies used to implement those objectives, remained the same. However, the actual tools used for the job had changed drastically. Let’s look at how technology has changed PR.
Now, for those of you who weren’t working at the turn of the century, I don’t want you to think we used to work hunched over small desks, writing our news releases longhand with quill pens by candlelight. No, we had computers (though laptops were rare) and Internet connections and e-mail. But it was still common to fax in releases for distribution and the coverage sent to us by media monitoring agencies were physical newspaper clippings, which had to be sorted, paper clipped and filed away in mammoth cabinets. I also remember working late into the night preparing media kits for an event taking place the following day: printing endless copies of news releases, bios and fact sheets, stapling and struggling to slot everything into flimsy company branded folders (and heaven forbid you find a typo after the fact because then you had to go through the whole process again). Read More