The relevance of web exclusives must not be undervalued by those pitching stories

Digital cameras are now ubiquitous, which makes sense because they take great pictures and are wonderfully efficient.

Digital cameras are now ubiquitous, which makes sense because they take great pictures and are wonderfully efficient.

But while I am no slouch in the electronics-adoption stakes, I have stuck to my standard 35mm camera, even though it means I always have drawers full of unprocessed film.

The reason, I tell people, is the necessary limitations of film. I like the discipline of thinking carefully about which photos to take and not to take, knowing that I am restricted by the number of exposures I'm willing to pay for. The quality, I reason to myself as

I stash yet another undeveloped roll in my kitchen drawer, is the trade-off for lack of convenience.

One might call it a pointless habit, and certainly a feeble rationalization. It is not dissimilar to the print-versus-web-edition argument that some readers will get into with editors. Indeed, feeble is what I would likely call the point of view of anyone who complained about being featured in a story that only ran on prweek.com, and not in the print edition.

It is a paradox of the industry that even while new media is all the rage, internet advertising revenues are on the rise, and traditional publishing companies are pursuing aggressive strategies to keep up, some readers still devalue the web-only story. CEOs interviewed for the CEO Survey that appears in this issue expressed a clear, if perhaps irrational, preference for the hard-copy version of even established business magazine's web extensions.

The perception may be that web publishing is motivated purely by speeds and feeds, the primary objective being to keep posting new stuff so that readers come back several times a day or week to get another fix. To some extent, that is true. But as a stand-alone strategy, it is necessarily short-lived if readers find content is inadequate or irrelevant and stop coming back altogether.

Competition for eyeballs online is also fierce. As a colleague recently pointed out to me, readers may have less reason to move away from a print edition than they would from a website, where bouncing around from title to title is easy and commonplace.

Any lingering perception that the web edition of a print publication is somehow less valuable, simply because it is online, is a notion that needs to be excised. The fact is that both still play critical roles, and each outlet must be judged by its own standards, not solely by the platform on which it is presented. Moreover, if traditional advertising continues to decline, the opportunities to reach stakeholders through print media will be fewer and fewer. A failure to embrace the worthwhile web exclusive will result in too many important stories, like those pointless rolls of film, winding up in a drawer, never to be seen.

PRWeek does its part to advance diversity in PR

PRWeek is currently fielding its third annual Diversity Survey, sponsored by Hill & Knowlton. While many criticize the lack of progress the industry has made in attracting and retaining a truly diverse workforce, it seems that things are beginning to change.

At least the discussion has moved on from "whither diversity" to the practical challenges of achieving it. Given the small successes thus far, that is progress.

But there is still much more to be done. With this ongoing research, we hope we can contribute to the cause, as well as measure the effectiveness of efforts on an ongoing basis.


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