The Power of a Press Release

(YouTube link)

Conan O'Brien officiated a same-sex wedding on his TV show last night. Whether that is big news or not, the way the story has been covered shows how much television news depends on someone else to write their scripts news copy. There's another video at Laughing Squid that synchs the newscasts so they repeat the phrase in unison. Link

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@WordyGrrl, not quite true. When you send a press release to the media you send your own version of the story. It has been thus since there was such a thing as PR. What used to happen was that journalists would take the story, research it and write their own copy. All this shows is that these days there are fewer real journalists than there once were and that people posing as journalists don't write their own copy, but regurgitate press releases wholesale.

Of course a good PR person has always known how to manipulate the system. Send your release to the news desk so late that they don't have time to do any work on it, but not so late that it won't make it out. With printed news and old fashioned TV this was pretty easy to do. Which is why a story would change between the early and later editions or the 6pm and 10pm news.

When rolling news came along what should have happened is that the story would go out almost per press release the first time and then get worked on through the day. This does not seem to happen.

Their used to be a saying that a good news story almost writes itself. It would seem that modern "journalists" have misunderstood this maxim.
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When you send a video news story to a radio/tv station, you send along a pre-written "suggested intro/outro" with it. Apparently, none of the anchors bothered to write their own intro. ALL of them used the canned verbiage sent out by Conan's PR people.
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