The origins of the press release are unclear, but in the not too distant past, this communication tool was called a “news release.” And its sole purpose was to provide the press with information likely to be of interest to the public; containing what journalists still call “news value.”
But the news release has lost its value as a communication tool for two reasons:
Over the past two decades, the sustained volume of press release abuse by PR practitioners—driven in large measure by CEOs (and clients) who fail to understand that journalists are not ad hoc members of their company’s communications department—has greatly diminished the stature of the PR profession. It has also reduced the ability of PR pros to leverage the media as a valuable means of securing objective, third-party exposure and validation for their company, product or cause.
As the number of journalists who post “Do not send press releases or pitch story ideas to me” on their Cision or Vocus profiles increases every year, the PR profession will eventually lose one of its most fundamental roles: to discover or create content that has bona fide news value, and to properly package and present that information to the media.