In listening to a PRIA webinar with Eric Beecher, senior journalist and co-founder of Crikey.com recently, he discussed the increasing rise of ‘Churnalism’ or the constant turnover or regurgitation of news. As a business owner or decision maker, it is important that you are aware of this ongoing media trend as it affects all businesses large and small that want to communicate with the media.Beecher discussed that because journalists are so time constrained due to a lack of editorial resources and a tightening of budgets, they are often increasingly being forced to rely on being fed content and news. Beecher believes that churnalism is driven by the convergence of media on the internet and the effects of the GFC.
From a PR perspective, it is great when journalists publish almost the exact copy of a press release that we have distributed as it means you successfully convey a client’s key messages. However, as a reader of news this is not what I want and I am pretty sure it isn’t what you want. Quality journalism reports and analyses news. The keys factors to a journalist’s role lie in quality and trust. When I pick up the paper or read an article online I want the published news to have been fully analysed, researched and to reflect the author’s (an unbiased third party) perspective. When news is ‘churned’ out, the news simply holds less value for the audience.
Our job as PRs is not an easy one of simply churning out stories, our reputations are reliant on providing solid, quality and well researched information. In today’s world, PR’s are more accountable than ever before and it has never been more important to be impartial in our communication as today’s audience can see through any spin, check facts and go to the source direct. As a PR I welcome critique and analysis from journalists, they make our roles more challenging and engaging and improve our dissemination of news.
It has never been more important for businesses to be open and honest as consumers want to know the story behind the story, they want to be communicated to and they want transparency and impartial opinion.
Top Tip: Do not be disappointed if a story that you release does not achieve instant coverage. A key objective of distributing news is to build relationships through regular and relevant communication.