Is the News Release Dead?
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Back when I was fresh out of college and working at my first public relations job, I was told that sending a news release was the end-all and be-all in terms of sharing information with the media. Fast-forward to now, and the manner in which PR professionals interact with the media has changed tremendously over the past few decades. The era of sending out a simple news release and sitting back waiting for it to spur enough interest by the media in order to have a reporter assigned to write a story about it is long gone.
Media outlets are struggling to deliver news and information to the public. The news industry (i.e. radio, newspapers, and television) is facing huge budget cuts, reductions in staff, mandatory work furloughs, dwindling advertisement revenue, and even closing down altogether. This has had a negative impact on what is considered news-worthy and what the media chooses to cover. This has made it more challenging to reach our intended audiences.
Public relations professionals like myself continue to issue news releases as one of the various tools used to deliver an overall comprehensive, strategic communications plan. So, the answer is: "No, the news release is not dead." Here are some reasons why:
A news release allows the company, organization, and/or agency tell their own story. The ability to craft your own message in a news release is a valuable tool in being able to reinforce the messaging and staying on brand.
A news release can open the door for public relations professionals to make a targeted news pitch about your company, organization, and/or agency. After sending a news release, I follow up with the reporter to provide clarity, if needed, and to help build a relationships (media relations).
A news release is a great way to keep track of the news, information, and feature stories sent to the media. News releases should be housed on your company, organization or agency's website to provide a timeline of the news, events, and information that becomes part of your brand story.
The news release is very much alive, but is no longer the sole manner in which to engage with the media. In the case of a crisis situation, issuing a news release is an important way to disseminate information to the media as an official statement on behalf of the company, organization, and/or agency.
As for me, the news release will remain as a traditional staple of my communications toolbox.