Is Too Much Content Overwhelming Journalists? A Baltimore Media Panel Weighs In.

Michael Pranikoff, Amy Webb, Rob Pegoraro, Edwin Warfield

Michael Pranikoff, Amy Webb, Rob Pegoraro, Edwin Warfield

Your deadline is looming, and you’re digging for a story. You call your best sources, show up to meetings, check email, faxes, and your social networks.

The amount of content is akin to an avalanche. And this overflow of information is not exactly a new problem.

So what story makes the cut? Eye-catching, quality content with a nugget or two toward a good story.

“I don’t want to read something boring,” said freelance tech journalist Rob Pegoraro frankly, of press releases.

Pegoraro recently was joined on a media panel with Amy Webb, a former journalist and CEO of Webbmedia Group, and CEO Edwin Warfield, during PR Newswire’s annual sales conference in Baltimore. The panel was moderated by PR Newswire director of emerging media Michael Pranikoff.

The panelists spoke about the overflow of news releases that journalists receive each day. The challenge always lies in sorting through the content to find interesting bits.

How PR Pros Can Help Journalists

“The end goal of a press release is to generate earned media,” Webb said. “The path to get there is to provide something so fa­scinating that the reader is compelled to act.”

Audiences today demand more engaging stories. They seek articles, broadcasts, and blog posts that have superior multimedia and data that personally relates to them.

PR practitioners can help by providing quality content.

Warfield said news releases must break out of the mold. “[Press releases] need to tell stories,” he said, mentioning that infographics and geo-parsing or hyper-local content would be helpful. “Press releases are so formulaic.”

Releases with photos and/or videos always will receive more attention than those without, the group said.

“Let’s get these digital assets in there,” Webb said. “There is going to be no story without the photo. You have to grab people’s attention. No one shops for shoes in a text-based environment.”

PR Newswire’s Role

PR Newswire must become the curator, Webb said, adding that services like ProfNet are incredibly valuable.

“You’re extremely important,” Webb said. “We are in a land rush, and everyone out there is your competitor … there’s too much content.”

Journalists and bloggers need to quickly be able to sort through that content to keep up. That means setting up newsfeeds to stay informed on the topics they cover, knowing how to find high-resolution multimedia, and connecting with subject matter experts for interviews and research.

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Christine Cube is the former PR Newswire media relations manager and freelance writer. Follow her @cpcube.

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