Working at a newspaper gives me an inside view on how journalist really view PRs. While our paper is a pretty small, localized paper, we still receive TONS of press releases every day. While my co-workers don’t refer to PRs as “spin doctors” or any other degrading term, they do get very frustrated with the press releases we receive. Listed below are some annoyances that even I have with PRs and press releases due to my employment at the paper.
1. First off, we loath a faxed press release. We receive all sorts of junk (and by junk I mean spam) in our fax machine everyday. Even if a viable press release comes through, its likely to get chunked in the waste basket with the spam. Not only that, but anything received via fax machine is grainy, so its harder to read.
2. Secondly, if you choose to send a press release via ‘snail mail’ please, please email it as well. Just with a fax, our editors and copy setters do not have an abundance of time. If you email your press release, they can very well ‘copy & paste’ the parts they would like to use. Emailing just makes it more likely that your press release will get used.
3. If you are going to include a picture with your press release, make sure that it is a HIGH resolution, or offer a website where the editor can retrieve a high resolution picture. There’s nothing worse than sending a picture that is boring in content, has poor resolution, or is just a ‘crappy’ picture.
4. Lastly, it is SO annoying when a PR calls the newspaper and asks if you used their press release. Can you not read? We have so little time, and then a PR basically calls and says to you ‘Hi, I begged for free space in your paper, but I didn’t bother to read your paper, so can you tell me if you ran an article?’
These are just the main annoyances I have noticed while working at a local paper. Just because these things annoy us, does not mean however that they annoy all newspaper professionals. Some papers may like for you to fax a press release, although I don’t know why they would!!
For other views on journalists vs. PRs visit http://foreveramber.typepad.com/blog/2006/09/why_journalists.htm OR http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=38348§ioncode=1.