The DIY news trend sweeping journalism could hurt PR

Some websites are telling PR professionals to post press releases directly to the site, a practice that helps PR people in the short run, but could have damaging long-term effects for both industries.

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That was my first experience with an emerging trend among media. Strapped for time and staff, some news outlets are allowing organizations to post releases directly to websites. I call it DIY news, as in “do it yourself.”

As a career PR guy, a former journalist, and a lover of the Fourth Estate, I have mixed feelings about this trend. So I bounced the topic off a colleague with a similar career pedigree, but of much greater talent and learned insight: Matt Friedman, co-founder of Tanner Friedman, a Detroit-area communications firm.

He, too, saw pros and cons. “Sometimes this is a way to get information publicly available that otherwise wouldn’t meet the threshold of news in the current environment,” Friedman said.

The client wins, he explained, by getting the information in front of its target audience through a more credible vehicle while the news outlet gains extra page views. But there is a dark side, Friedman warned.

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