Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thoughts From a Small Newspaper Editor on Social Media News Releases

In class tomorrow night, we are going to discuss the Social Media News Release.

For readers of this blog - both from the SMM class at UCLA - as well as others who have found us, I'm pleased to offer you FIRST HAND insight into the state of press releases from Alasdair Stewart, the City Editor of the award-winning Walla-Walla Union Bulletin.

The 'WWUB' is very typical of news outlets all across the country - and the globe - as the newspaper business continues to transition from print to digital. Mr. Stewart is the brother of one of the class participants and he wanted his thoughts to be shared.

Here's what he says:

Like most editors at small newspapers, I have a lot more work than time. Part of that work is turning press releases into stories, or assigning reporters to do the same, whether that involves original reporting or not.

Press releases usually offer newsy information and contact information, and rarely still photos - usually in low-resolution (and therefore e-mail friendly) format. That's fine, but the added time and hassle of a round of phone tag can be a deterrent to running photos in print, and these days just as importantly, audio and video online.

The move toward full-service press releases - which is to say releases that either contain multimedia materials or links to that material - is great news for me, and of course for the people who are featured in the releases. We can't always use everything we get, but releases with more offerings than just for print certainly get better play.

Share your thoughts in comments below or with me on Twitter.

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