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New Take on News Releases

This is not a post about the social media release, although I am not indifferent (in an ambivalent-haven't-given -it-much-thought way) to the appeal of the Digital Snippets platform developed by the Social Media Group. Truthfully, since I am not in the least interested in exploring new ways to push product, I have side-stepped the whole issue for the time being.

This is about the "old" news release directed at mainstream media. I'm past the stage in my career where I write many news releases (thank god). But the function, form and language of news releases have an enduring interest since they are a kind of 20th century meme.

A couple of months ago, the Ontario government changed the format of its news releases to make them simpler, and more web friendly. Since there is no organization that likes to talk more about itself and how wonderful are its elected officials than provincial, state, or regional governments, this is significant. And I am surprised to find there is an admirable utility -- and shockingly even humility -- in the format of these news releases.

They separate 'news', 'quotes', 'quick facts', 'learn more'. No more the formulaic opening sentence which goes something like "XX, Minister of XXX announced today", the lengthy, reductive, hackneyed and generic comments from the minister

Your company not ready to go quite this far? Then at least take note of Gary Schlee's epistle about the news release "on life support" and why most of them "stink", namely because of long and tedious leads, phony quotes, unsubstantiated hype, preoccupation with announcements and gobbledygook.

Corporate 'Flogging'

Fiction Shaping Non-Fiction