WASHINGTON, DC: Reaching the 21st century newsroom with methods better suited to the 1980s is posing a problem for many PR pros.
WASHINGTON, DC: Reaching the 21st century newsroom with methods
better suited to the 1980s is posing a problem for many PR pros.
This became increasingly clear last week at a seminar jointly sponsored
by the National Capitol Chapter of the PRSA and the American Society of
Association Executives (ASAE), during which several participants alluded
to an ’uneasy era’ of transition. This era, they claimed, has seen rules
and methods that used to be set in stone give way to a somewhat chaotic,
Panelists Pat Anastasi, a senior producer at MSNBC.com, and Chet Rhodes,
who holds the same post at WashingtonPost.com, detailed how their sites
are heading into the convergence era, in which they anticipate audio and
video will comprise a much greater component of online news.
’We have four people trained in video,’ Rhodes said. ’It’s considered
more important than still photography.’
Rhodes also suggested that in order to sate the needs of online
journalists, company and organization Web sites should contain good
graphics (such as a logo) that might be used to illustrate a story. ’The
biggest problem is that people want to get large textual information to
the public,’ he said. ’But they should get it to us electronically.’
US Newswire VP for marketing and development Brian Taylor suggested that
PR pros will fail to crack the 21st century newsroom unless they learn
how to manage the expectations of a new generation of journalists. He
noted that online journalists nearly always seek out visuals to
supplement their stories, but are too often merely handed a traditional
Others noted that strict deadlines have become a thing of the past at
large online news organizations, which are able to provide continuous
updates as events warrant. And while many PR pros continue to deluge
newsrooms with faxes - many of which go unread - e-mail messages not
properly tailored to a media outlet’s specifications could just as
easily suffer the same fate. Gaining the trust of online journalists,
many of whom guard their e-mail addresses closely to avoid being
spammed, thus becomes even more essential.