Judging from this story, it appears not.

Then again, coming from a traditional daily newspaper background myself, it’s taken me a good nine weeks or so of observing before deciding to engage with Twitter, set up an account, get tweeting and try to fathom out what the latest social media tool can do – not just for the Press, but for personal networking and Brand-building.

There are countless examples in my contact database of individuals and businesses which are gaining exposure, positive coverage, even cold, hard cash from being a part of the tweetosphere. As with all social media, it takes time and commitment – things which many newsroom journalists are lacking today, given the backdrop of cutbacks, recession and mal-management.

Time will tell – and that, of course, is the precious commodity which most deadline-driven media folk don’t have. Ironic.


Interesting times we live in.

Thankfully, not all publishers have buried their heads in the sand to the increasing rise and rise in demand for digital, online, immediate and apps-based content: according to this story today, two of the UK’s largest publishing houses have utilised solutions from the digital age, including an iPhone app deal, to increase their readerships and bring more attention to their offerings.

Long overdue, in my opinion.

Audiences are demanding their content in different ways – the lesson of the newspaper publishers in the UK provides a clear example of how not to respond to market forces. Perhaps Random House and Penguin will lead the way.

So, imagine the scene…

You’ve sent your shiny, perfectly-formed, stunningly-interesting press release to all your target Press. Not a single irrelevant media contact has been emailed. You have absolute confidence in the power of the story contained within your PR correspondence.

And then?

Nothing, nadda, zilch. Three days pass and not a single, salutory email or phone call from any of the contacted editors.

What next?

Don’t fret, panic or take it personally.

I receive 250 emails per day from company prs, in-house marketers and PR Agencies dealing on behalf of clients across the UK. And roughly 10% of them are worth reading. As in, worth taking a closer look because they are actually, fundamentally newsworthy and may interest my readerships. No sales pitches, PR spin, irrelevant waffle, just good old-fashioned News.

So, are you being honest with yourself?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the press release just a poorly-worded sales effort?

2. Is it really relevant to the target readership?

3. Is it about current or upcoming News in the business, or a re-hashed story from 3 months ago?

4. Is the accompanying image of appropriate quality for the publication or online portal?

5. Is the editorial well-written, punchy and without waffle – does it succinctly tell the story?

6. Have I given the press release to a third party to check before emailing it to the Press?

If you can pass the above questions, and still no contact from the Press, be patient. Be persistent. Keep sending the right PR, in the right format, at the right time, and within our deadlines. We’ll get to it eventually.

Oh – and never, ever, ever ring us to see if we’ve recieved it. You’ll often find an expletive offends.

Even with the depressed state of the Nation, editors still need, want and demand News. And we still need to be supplied with excellent content and images to feed our readerships. So how can you guarantee you’re hitting the headlines? Try these tips:

1. Get inside your business and uncover newsworthy stories. Don’t make stuff up, or create spin. Uncover the people news.

2. Make sure you get your content professionally written and supplied to us with professional images taken by a professional photographer – note the word ‘professional’ in there? That’s because you need to give a professional representation of your business to us: saving money and cutting corners sends out the wrong messages to us. Obvious, really.

3. Research your target newspapers, magazines and online sites throughly – you need to know who is writing what, where and when before you try to sell us your PR. Anything less is nothing short of media relations suicide.

4. Be persistent – you may well need to contact, re-contact and re-re-contact before you get the result you’re after.

5. Respect deadlines – always, always, always ask us if we’re on deadline BEFORE you launch into a pitch.

6. Give us what we want, and within the hour. Trust is rapidly built with us by you delivering the goods on deadline.

Even if you maintain the above Tips only, you’ll go a long way to building great media relationships. Try it!

…or, at least, according to a contact of mine, in Bristol at the moment a publishing house is just about to.

Heard through the grapevine of a Bristol-based business magazine publishing house today which has made redundant its editorial department. Nothing new there, we’ve seen hundreds of UK journalists made redundant in the last six months.

But here’s the kicker.

The magazines are still, allegedly, to be published. Each and every month. But who, you may ask, is going to provide the content for the two monthly 94-page, sector-leading, business to business magazines? According to my contact, the Managing Director is doing it. A highly-trained…salesman, no less. The competing magazines must be rubbing their hands with glee today.

Yep, this publishing firm – in the middle of the Media Gem of the South West that is Bristol, with its increasing commercial community, excellent workforce availability and proximity to the business hubs of London, Birmingham and Manchester – is going to lose its full-time editorial staff and write the copy for its publications. In-house. By the very own MD’s hands. Without any training or journalistic knowledge. Using press releases only. No exclusives. No researched features. Oh dear.

Myself and my contact have placed a sweepstake – he reckons the firm will go down in six months. I estimate three. Your guess?

Simply superb guide here for the Press on Twitter.

Good debate raised today from this article, concerning the so-called Golden Era of journalism in which we apparently find ourselves, according to Adrianna Huffington. It is, on balance, a Golden Era for news consumers, as she points out, rather than the editorial staff across newsrooms globally who are seeing their resources, salaries and in some cases livelihoods, slashed.

Whilst I agree that its never been easier for news consumers to find their editorial – with the plethora of online and offline sources opening up weekly – the pressures being placed on journalists in both traditional newsrooms and online hubs is increasing – not least because of the apparent inability for advertising sales staff to cope with reduced interest from advertisers in newspapers and magazines. Hundreds of thousands of journalists made redundant, their fates sealed by ineffective sales guys…or so it seems.

I am a huge advocate of the ‘take charge, stop moaning and make the changes’ approach.

Yes, of course, it is hard to retain this attitude when your Boss tells you you’re being given the chop, the fact remains that editorial must work harder with advertising departments to find, secure and increase revenue streams. Producing great content simply is not enough anymore, as we’ve seen.

How to more fully integrate editorial and advertising functions remains the biggest crux in a content-based organisation, and unless the senior managers start to realise they are two different functions in the business, we’re all screwed. Back to basics!

Fabulous piece here on a lecture delivered by Emily Bell on the future of journalism in a decade’s time.

It is clear that journalists will need to be networked and writing across a variety of social media platforms to thrive, survive and pass on the relevant news to audiences  – where they are, on their terms, and in ways they want to see it. Ah, the good old days.

Interesting article here today.

The various differences between bloggers and journalists are outlined in a clear, effective and rounded way. I agree with the huge impact of blogging with passion, versus the professional training and inputs instead given as a journo.

But, to be fair, I believe alot of quality journalism in the UK is also written with great passion too. There is a place in our contemporary media landscape for both to co-exist.

Possibly the most interesting development for me, as a print journalist-trained Editor who also blogs, has been to observe the switch to blogging by the media. Just look at the newspaper presences online to see evidence of this.

Ultimately in the News market, as in all other market, the customer demand drives products and services. If the media don’t respond to reader demands for content in more accessible ways, the readership migrates elsewhere. Why else, do you think, that so many regionals have shut up shop? Because their outdated business models cannot sustain them.

The evolving media models over the next 18 months will either preserve certain publications, or consign them to the editorial graveyard in the sky…I, for one, hope the larger UK newspaper publishers wake up and start treating their newsrooms as a vitally-important resource, rather than a financial liability.

Maybe the bloggers will win the demand for content in the end. But where will the journos go?