OLD Media Moves

The Catch-22 of business news departments

March 15, 2006

Steven Silvers, a public relations professional in Denver, has an interesting comment on his blog today about the difficulty in dealing with business news departments and what it means for businesses and others trying to get their story into the paper. His premise is that although there are more media outlets today, there are fewer stories being covered.

ScatterboxSilvers writes, “Some companies make their own negative situations worse when they arrogantly interpret the media’s limitations as an blanket invitation to obfuscate or obstruct media coverage of bad financial reports, industrial accidents, executive malfeasance and other ‘bad news’ events.

“On a more local level, competition among thinly staffed newsrooms keeps many corporate stories – positive and negative – from being covered at all. Business editors are obligated to commit reporters to the same major stories as everyone else, and this understandably makes them protective of what discretionary news hole they have left. As a result, local-market business editors around the country routinely pass on legitimately newsworthy local corporate stories because they simply don’t have reporters available, or because the story is being covered by someone else.

“This of course doesn’t phase the flackery industry, which continues to inundate business media with unsolicited company press releases and story ‘pitches.’ Rocky Mountain News business editor Rob Reuteman figures he gets 1,200 publicity pitches each week.

“If he spent on average two minutes reading and considering everything directed to him – he’d spend 40 hours a week doing nothing else.”

Read the posting here.

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