It seems we hear a proclamation every few months that the news release is dead -- a dinosaur used only by out-of-touch p.r. people.
The latest talk began with a column last week in Advertising Age. I was going to post a comment at Ad Age.com, but I wasn't quite sure if columnist Simon Dumenico was serious or trying to be sarcastric.
I guess he was serious, because Ad Age is now running a reader poll to see what the rest of us think. Last time I looked, most of the comments were saying the news release is still a viable p.r. tool.
Now I see PR News is adding to the chatter, with a story about the dying news release planned for their next issue.
Enough already! Those saying the news release is dead seem to come from three groups. There are the people who work for media distribution companies, trying to get us to believe they have the solution to get information out to the media in a way the standard news release can no longer accomplish.
The others claiming the death of the release work mainly in the digital arena. Anything that's not digital or formated to be "digital-friendly" is a waste, they say. The rest are just looking to get some publicity for themselves, since the subject is still good fodder for the trades.
Whichever group they're from, they're wrong. The news release still plays a useful role in the PR arsenal. The news release puts information out in the words of the issuer. It usually contains information that serves as good background for reporters. Quotes in the news release enable reporters to include a spokesperson's words, even if they don't have the chance to actually conduct an interview themselves.
While it's true that media now get information in many ways, including via social media interaction, the news release still does get used by the media, including online media.
Dumenico, writing in Ad Age, talked about gossip media getting information directly from Twitter and Facebook rather than from news releases issued by celebs' managers or press agents. He may be right about that segment of the media, but for most other media, news releases still are useful.
Of course, releases need to be properly targeted. But that's nothing new. Professionals did proper research and targeting long before the digital age.
But, despite what some are saying, the news release is alive and well. It remains one tool in the expanding array of tools we use to get the word out to the public through the media... including digital and social media.