Online newsrooms serve as a helpful tool for reporters

Video podcasts, photos, and blogs have become popular platforms to enhance a corporate Web site. Often overlooked is the online newsroom. If used to house company information, multimedia components, press releases, and other details, an online newsroom can prove useful in myriad ways, particularly for media outreach

Video podcasts, photos, and blogs have become popular platforms to enhance a corporate Web site. Often overlooked is the online newsroom. If used to house company information, multimedia components, press releases, and other details, an online newsroom can prove useful in myriad ways, particularly for media outreach. Results from the 2008 Online Newsroom Survey clearly show that journalists rely on them, given the round-the-clock nature of their work.

“The fact that journalists expect companies to have [one] hasn't fallen below 96% in the last four years or so,” says Ibrey Woodall, director of marketing for TEKgroup International, the company that conducts the survey. “It's 24-hour access.”

Healthcare giant CIGNA has found its new online newsroom especially useful compared to the first iteration, which it created internally before 2005. At that time, its newsroom consisted mostly of news releases and a few media contacts. A TEKgroup client, the company added its digital section about three months ago.*

“Now when a journalist wants to talk with us, we don't have to start from the very beginning,” says Gloria Barone, director of PR for CIGNA. “They're able to do a briefing ahead of time, so we can dive in to the news of the day.”

The online newsroom also generates stories. Reporters frequently reference CIGNA's white papers and contact the company for more information about what those documents contain, setting up CIGNA as a thought leader.

“[It's] fine to promote the company through news releases, but it's important to have credible facts and data that's objective and not totally promotional,” Barone says. “[They've] been lead generators.

Key points:

  • An online newsroom can serve as an outreach tool
  • Access to corporate information via an online newsroom can be critical
  • Providing info outside of news releases can even generate reporter interest

*This paragraph previously suggested that the first version of CIGNA's online newsroom was created in 2006. We regret the error.

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