Tom Foremski makes a passionate plea for the press release (sic) to die. In place, he wishes the PR industry could adopt the principles of object-oriented programming by offering modular and reusable information for journalists to assemble into a news story. (To some extent, this technology is already widely available: it’s known as a hyperlink.) His key message is a useful one, though: give me the facts and cut the hype.
In response, Stuart Bruce asks what became of the XPRL initiative, which promised to do something like this for the news making process. My view is that it was over-complicated and not sufficiently useful to anyone but the clippings agencies. XPRL never had a convincing elevator pitch.
Chris at Hacking Cough finds the press release easy enough to deal with, and also doubts that the XML approach would offer sufficient benefit.
My challenge is even more fundamental. Some students – and I confess some past clients too – just don’t see that there’s any difference between a news release and a news report. I therefore feel the need to teach news writing (eg the inverted pyramid as described by Chris) before teaching news release writing. And then introducing media relations as a process of mediation between the organisation’s news and what a journalist perceives as news.