Internet Week has descended upon New York City, and yesterday I ventured down to 18th street’s Internet Week HQ to attend an event titled, “The 24/7 Online Newscycle & Reaping the Rewards of Real Time Reporting.” With Laurie Segall of CNN Money moderating, and respected editors Jim Frederick (managing editor, Time.com) Tony Haile (GM of Chartbeat) and Paul Berry (CEO of Huffington Post), the trip on the 1 train was well worth it.
While the editors all reiterated what many of us in the PR business already know (“now more than ever it’s a 24/7 news cycle, there’s no ‘I’ll handle it tomorrow’”), my biggest takeaway was that the traditional press kit is absolutely dead. Yes, many of us quit lugging heavy print press kits to tradeshows long ago, but I think we’re heading into a time when digital press kits just aren’t going to cut it either. Your four-page services overview just doesn’t jive in a world where a journalist goes to Twitter first to get the news, and expects it in just 140 characters.
This is especially true of crisis communications. All of the panelists agreed that in today’s news cycle, consumers see stories break on Twitter and expect traditional news outlets to have covered the story at the same speed. There’s no time to read a pitch, or sort through 20 files in your client’s digital press room. We have to make it easier, and it has to be more immediate. All of the panelists said that their newsrooms are “addicted to Tweetdeck” and that they head straight to Twitter and Facebook for sources, photos, and updates.
As advocates for our clients, we too need to change the way we present information. Especially when there’s a breaking news event or crisis, we should be heading to Twitter and Facebook first to post unique information, sources and especially photos. Jim Frederick noted that as Twitter is seen as a completely public platform, they’ll post photos and reactions immediately and verbatim from the tool. Making sure your client has their position clearly stated and any artwork available there for download makes it easier for a journalist to sift through.
The next major news event that will test the power of social media in news reporting? The 2012 election. And as a news junkie – I can’t wait.