When is news, really news?

We all know that the world of journalism has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. Traditional newspapers have been faced with adopting new revenue streams and change the way they go about reporting and covering news. To add to the new way of doing their jobs, the market itself has become increasingly more competitive with a number of new online outlets being formed (everything from blogs, online only magazines or newspapers) every day, individuals turning into an everyday Walter Cronkite and now – the companies that they cover themselves. Being in the digital marketing world, one of the things I have learned is that a company needs to view itself as a content provider – which means putting together content and data that you could find in an industry publication or web site. This makes things interesting when a company ‘reports’ on or releases news.

More times than not, when a press release hits the wire or a public statement is made, the ‘news’ itself has already been done and historically it wasn’t reported on. Things have changed during these times of real-time monitoring, Google alerts and public filings and this change now includes sites and people ‘reporting’ on normal course of business or business transactions. What is getting reported a lot of the time is just the facts – Company A filed this or Company B won this – and there is little (if any) input from the organization that is being reported on.

So my question is this – when is news really news? Is it at the time of a transaction or when an organization makes it publicly known from a press release, media interview or posting? Or in today’s ‘real time is old news’ world, is the news constant? Is it to be reported on and followed up on when the company is ready to talk or release more information – this time with color and reason?

With all of the information that crosses our iPhones and computer screens each and every day, it would help to know what is actually worth reading up on and what is just a report on a transaction.

  • Christine Blain


    You pose some great questions here…I think that news is constant now, which makes a PR pro’s job that much more challenging.  With a constant stream of “news” (or perhaps we could call them “newslets” for their lack of deep substance), we have to find a way to make a real news story stand out.  Furthermore, when trying to present a more colorful follow-up as you mention, we often find that the audience has moved on to the next stream of “newslets” and re-capturing their attention can be even more difficult than before.  While I’m not totally sure how we can better handle this, we (the message creators, conveyors, and distributors) cannot allow ourselves to get discouraged and stop pushing our content into the stream.

  • JOuellette

    Very good points, Christine. I really like your point on audiences moving on to the next stream of “newslets” before we can get the real substance out there. It’s interesting how much we’re doing in terms of creation today – but we really need to focus on getting that content into a digestible form.