Searching for Real News: Journalism vs. Public Relations

mccauley servicesAdvertising is not a cut and dry industry.  Usually, the components of said industry can work together to create profitable campaigns for clients; however, with an ever-evolving, technologically dependent world, the purpose of these tools can get a little fuzzy.  Case in point: the content deemed relevant for a press release.  Traditionally, press releases were crafted using timely news stories that were then summarized and disseminated amongst members of the media in the hopes that the pitched story would warrant a spot in a print publication, radio segment, or television broadcast.

As discussed in the March 30th edition of Web Pro News, today’s digital press releases mainly consist of blog posts, website content, and social media input.  While all of these media outlets are useful, given the wide-spread nature of the internet, they are also diluting what’s really “news” and thinning the line between fact and fiction.  There has been a long, ongoing battle between those that claim themselves “journalists” and those that resonate more with the title “PR blogger”.  Journalists’ jobs depend on fact checking and obtaining newsworthy, factual information.   Some (not all) public relations professionals, however, maintain their creative licenses and “spin” materials to garner more attention for their clients at the expense of sharing the whole story.  Cases of PR spin have been rampant the past decade and garnered a lot of negative publicity from well-established media outlets as they struggle to preserve their voice in a free-information world.

Luckily, there is a winner to this ongoing battle:  balance.  Whether you are a PR company writing an online press release, or a newspaper reporter posting a story to Facebook or Twitter, you should ensure that you have the most relevant, in-depth information possible.  It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s really a disservice to your professional reputation and your client’s reputation to publish something that’s not relevant or completely accurate.  If you think that the rules are relaxing and that people will understand because it’s online- that’s not completely true.  Traditional print outlets like the New York Times are quickly shifting their focus to develop paid, subscription-based online editorial.   In fact, the Tuesday edition of The New York Times announced plans for iWatchNews: a new website by The Center for Public Integrity dedicated to investigative journalism.  Thus, the number of credible, online news sources is quickly increasing.

While generating numerous press releases and Facebook posts may create a little bit of noise and slightly increase your page rank, inaccurate information doesn’t die.  Archived articles with misinformation can be easily obtained by prospective clients and/or customers and really create a need for crisis management.   To learn more about the copywriting, public relations, and advertising services offered by McCauley Marketing Services visit our website and read our blog.