MEDIA: PA moves to bolster UNS

The Press Association is to target PROs in an attempt to bolster its revamped press release distribution operation, Universal News Service (UNS).

UNS, which distributes corporate and government information to journalists using the same satellite delivery as PA's newswire, is expected to be more effective than e-mail, according Martin Huckett, newly appointed development manager of PA's media information arm.

He said: 'Journalists are bombarded with copy via e-mail. It is driving them crazy. PROs need to recognise that as a growing problem. We are looking at better ways of delivering content on the wire.'

The new-look UNS, which is still in the planning stage, will offer PROs the chance to reach a wide range of journalists on a consolidated platform, he said.

'PA has not been as active as it might have been in responding. We will be integrating our existing news websites more closely with UNS,' said Huckett.

PA's radio and video capability could also be used, he indicated, while more PA copy could be offered for free. But he insisted: 'We are not going to end up cannibalising our own content.'

Existing UNS customers include the Department of Health, Rolls Royce and the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, PA is also looking to extend its contract publishing activity and has promoted former features editor Cate Wilson to the newly created position of editor, contract publishing division.

PA has a history of providing page-ready editorial for regional papers, and last year began expanding into other areas.

In two separate agreements, it is providing content and production for the 7 section of Hello! magazine while handling page production for The Business newspaper, formerly Sunday Business.

Wilson will work with Pat Pilton, director of editorial operations. Jackie Brown, who was previously a writer on the features desk, has taken over Wilson's former role.

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