Archive for October, 2010

Is Journalism Really Dying?

Many critics of online journalism and Web 2.o claim that the nature of true strong journalism is decreasing.  With all the junk out on the web, credible sources can be hard to find.  They also think the fast- paced, blog style of writing and resources does not provide the reader with quality information, and nothing is ever as good as the old way.

However, there is hope in our new technologies to suggest that the industry can be saved.

In fact, online newsrooms can enhance journalism.  Since companies are going public with all their important information, journalists do not need to pull teeth for financial reports or even be at formal press releases.  They can simply watch the video online, and at their own leisure.

Journalists are making good use of their online resources, thanks to Web 2.o technologies.  According to PRCoach.com, journalists agree that their field is benefiting from the new practices.  The use of social media is also affecting the future of the profession.  The use of social media is high among journalists, at around 70%.  This increases communication between the companies and the people that report on them.  Journalists read corporate blogs, watch videos, listen to podcasts and ‘follow’ or friend the companies they research on Twitter or Facebook.  This interactivity is different from past practices, and creates a better flow of key information.

Journalists know they cannot do it all alone.  There is evidence to suggest companies are working with journalists to provide them with the tools they need to do their job correctly.  Justin Pettigrew and Bryan Reber did a study on how Fortune 500 companies utilize online press rooms.  They looked specifically at the easy-to-use features on the websites.  A good feature is contact information. 58% of the sites contained PR contacts.  This makes it easy for journalist to have further communication with a company, and create a stronger personal relationship.   The press rooms also had a key factor, frequent updates.  92% contain press releases within the last 30 days.  This tool gives journalists the most current news, as well past information to learn more.  45% of these sites contained a press release search engine, to make looking through archives quick and easy.

There is obvious evidence that all of this information can only help true journalism.  An interesting thing I hope to research next week is the high use of Twitter among journalists.  I want to further develop ideas on this topic, and see the advantages/disadvantages of the microblog.  Stay tuned!

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Media Rooms- Not Just for Journalists

It is obvious that online newsrooms can be essential tools for a journalist to use.  They contain video, photos, press releases, and updates about a company’s newest ideas.  It is already suggested with critics that these new sites are best when they do not require a username.  Therefore, anyone searching through a website has access to all the media functions the company is putting out there.

Not only do media rooms help journalists write accurate information about a company, they do something else.  What do companies do when they know there are costumers on their site?  They market to them.  Companies are smart in this sense.  When customers are looking into latest breaking news of the company, they are most likely highly active, loyal customers.  This makes it a clear public to think about when creating a newsroom.

David Meerman Scott, author of  the book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, explains that an online newsroom is well done when it is created for the customers.  It engages them in the buying and selling process.  He also describes one of the most crucial things to do for a good news room is using terminology that customers use.  This will bump up the news and press releases in the search ranking, and direct customers to the PR site.  A good example of this is Cisco.  It contains valuable content, as well as links to social media sites for customers to follow and share the content.

While at first we may think that companies only want to sell us something, the presence of a customer-friendly online newsroom serves to keep the population well informed consumers.  When customers know more about the products they purchase and the brands they are loyal to, they are also more likely to stay customers.  Definitely a positive thing, and another way we can all be more transparent.

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Introduction to Online Newsrooms

Online newsrooms have developed as another outlet for a company’s online communication.  The resource mostly on a company’s main site, and is a way for journalists to sort through and check up on media outlets of a company.  It serves as an organized point to access information.  Companies like Microsoft have an interactive page, complete with links to corporate blogs, video/podcasts, press releases, and financial reports.  This makes it very easy for journalists to have a centralized access point in order to research and report on company activities.

There are criteria to what good online newsrooms should include.  Although companies are different, the services they provide to journalists are very consistent.  In this video, Pete Codella of Codella Marketing explains the list of what an online newsroom needs to include.  He takes note of the list of basic contents:

  • Contact Info
  • Press Releases
  • Press Kits
  • Executive Bios
  • Links

There are additional trends companies follow.  According to Bill Stoller of PublicityInsider.com adds that companies either have the newsroom accessible on their main site, or as a separate page.  An example is Microsoft’s easily accessible as a link at the bottom of the microsoft.com page.  Stoller also suggests not making journalists sign in to the information, as it makes it difficult on their already hard job.  The interesting part about the lack of user log-in is that the information is not only available to journalists, but by anyone with a computer.  The everyday user of the web has access to this plethora of information.  Talk about transparency!  This offers to perhaps even change the nature of journalists; they do not need to be employed by a media corporation to have inside access to write a good story.  In fact, almost any of us could do it along with other research.

On the contrary, Stoller does note the traditional press kit isn’t dead.  This is true with most forms of the media we learned about; there are always people who prefer to go the old school way.  They may not be laggards, but instead those who like to keep their credibility consistent with the old way of doing things.  Still, it looks like newsrooms play a large role in today’s journalism.  Just like corporate blogs, it is important to see who does it right.  Microsoft, Google, and Crayola are example of those companies that have taken the initiative to get ahead.

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Research

The topic I decided to research and blog about is Online Newsrooms. I chose it because I am interested in the changing nature of the news, and have never visited a online newsroom. It will be interesting to find out how one functions. Another idea I have on the topic is the overall changing of the nature of journalism. With new online technologies, journalists have certainly changed from traditional formats. One idea I have for a blog post or research topic is how Twitter affects news timeliness. News segments are becoming shorter and quicker, a large change from once lengthy articles. It will be interesting to research what new technologies reports are using and which traditional forms they are sticking with.

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