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Posted on 01.14.2010

The News Release – More Important Than Ever?

A new study released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism investigates where news comes from in today’s rapidly changing media landscape. A week-long examination of all the local media outlets in Baltimore suggests that while the news landscape has rapidly expanded, newspapers remain the primary source of information. Nearly 50 percent of the public got its information from the print media, while almost 30 percent relied on local TV. Niche media, such as specialty papers focused on business and law (approaching 15 percent), radio (under 10 percent), and new media (approaching five percent) were the other sources.


The study conducted an “examination of six major narratives” produced during the week and found that “most of the ‘news’ people receive contains no original reporting.” Eight out of ten stories “simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.” And, of the stories that did contain new information, 95 percent came from newspapers. Blogs, Twitter and local websites played a limited role – working as an alert system to break news more quickly. So what does this mean for PR professionals? As newspapers get slimmer and reporting staffs continue to shrink, well-written news releases are becoming more important than ever. I found the following statement from the report quite interesting, although I’m not surprised. “As news is posted faster, often with little enterprise reporting added, the official version of events is becoming more important. We found official press releases often appear word for word in first accounts of events, though often not noted as such.” So remember to keep a news-like tone (no marketing hype) when writing your next news release – it may increase the likelihood of securing a worthy placement.

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