How to create a website that reporters will love

Is it impossible for reporters to find your phone number? Are you hiding your corporate location? If so, it’s time to retool your site.

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We come tromping into your turf, by phone or in person, and presume to tell your story to the world.

But as long as communicators are stuck with us dandruffy hacks in our ketchup-stained neckties, why create websites that seem designed to thwart us? Don’t you want the ink?

At least that’s what some reporters I polled are wondering. They are vexed at having to squander precious minutes on deadline fruitlessly Googling or prowling through company websites to find out where your world headquarters is located. They are irked when they can’t turn up a meaningful description of your organization on the “about” page.

And there have been times when businesses and nonprofits have missed out on a mention in some of America’s most-read newspapers, magazines, blogs and Web-based trade publications because it was too cumbersome for journalists to find a human to talk to on deadline.

I asked several reporters for their beefs about organizational websites—corporate, government, nonprofit—and promised them anonymity. They signaled their interest by planting red flags in flowerpots on their balconies, and we met after midnight in D.C.-area parking garages, where they slipped me manila envelopes full of coded complaints.

All right: Actually, I just emailed them. But here are some of their peeves:

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