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The rise of the Internet and social media in spreading business news doesn’t mean the fall of traditional media sources or the use of the press release to communicate with them.

It is still worth the time and money to distribute a press release containing newsworthy information to the local – if not national and international – media. Here’s why:

First, people are still getting the news from reading newspapers, watching news stations and listening to the radio. Not every person can log on to and others don’t have time for the Internet, where so many people are “reporting” their news. I can think of several in my extended family whose main source for news and entertainment are the TV and the local newspaper. In fact, they don’t even own a computer. If you asked them if they were on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or Twitter, or if they read a particular blog, they’d probably look at you like you were from another planet. These are the potential customers you are only going to reach if you go to them through the ink that gets on their fingers, the TV screen they’re watching in their living rooms or the radio station they tune in to when in their cars. Old fashioned or not, they still exist. And as long as they do, traditional media will offer a valid medium by which to report your business news.

But even those with regular access to the Internet are still turning to traditional media for the quick and often comprehensive coverage of the news. If I want to know what the weather forecast is while getting my children and myself ready for the day, I turn on my favorite local channel. While it’s on, I hear about the breaking news overnight, updates on what happened yesterday, and get a laugh from the comedic reporters giving outrageous coverage to unique or newsworthy events. I don’t have time to sit at the computer to search and sort through the massive amounts of information to find what’s most important to me while I’m ironing my clothes or putting on my face. I know my local television stations and newspapers have what I need to know first thing in the morning. And if I want more, I’ll find it later on the Net.

It’s great that the general public can directly report what they witness, information they are privy to or what is important to them the moment it happens via the Internet, especially when they can get on the Web through their cell phones. But I believe the people with more complete access to “the whole story” are still journalists. It’s journalists who can and often do speak to any and everyone involved, including law enforcement, and usually provide a more complete picture of what happened than what one eyewitness can. That’s where many people will go for a comprehensive and, hopefully, accurate story.

My clients are still anxious to get into the media, because they realize that through it they can reach their target market as well as a broader audience. They prefer to be front-page news, but recognize that even just a mention in the business briefs will go a long way to getting the public familiar with their businesses. As long as the news media exists, businesses with valid news to share will always need press releases to communicate with those having access to the public beyond cyberspace.

In future blogs, I’ll talk about what constitutes a valid press release and establishing yourself as a source to the media.

Kelly K. Serrano

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