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01 August 2001

Internet source for more stories


More and more journalists are turning to the internet for sources and leads for stories. So don't make it hard for them to find the information they want.

According to the 2000 Middleberg/Ross Media in Cyberspace survey, 75 per cent of US journalists surveyed go on-line at least once a day. Email and article research are the most popular net uses, but more are going on-line for sources, story pitches and media releases.

However, many organisations don't help journalists find what they want, according to a recent Alertbox column Corporate Websites Get a ‘D' in PR.

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen reported that US journalists could find basic information about company financials, management, and commitment to social responsibility, along with a PR telephone number only 60 per cent of the time.

The top five reasons journalists gave for visiting a company's website were to find a PR contact, check basic facts about the company, discover the company's own spin on events, check financial information, and download photos for stories.

As Neilson asks, why spend a fortune trying to pitch to journalists, while neglecting those who visit your website?

If you were a journalist, would it be easy to find the following information on the websites you are responsible for:

  • Recent media releases
  • Photos (print resolution) of spokespeople, other senior executives, main products and locations
  • A summary of the organisation's history, achievements and current operations
  • The latest annual report
  • Contacts for spokespeople?

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