Great Moments In Unnecessarily Misleading, Off-Point Headlines

A recent press release on PR News wire had the headline:

Small Businesses Agree: The Web is Dead

and led with “Wired had it right; the web is dying. [REDACTED]s small business customers have shown a distinct preference for managing their documents in the cloud with downloadable applications – both on the iPad and on their Windows desktops – vs. using their browsers.”

So, a, one company’s “opinion” (or its interpretation of one thing their customers are doing) equals this “fact”? (Here’s another possible interpretation of the data: “Our browser access is badly done.”) Continue reading

My New Rule For Multi-Source Phone Briefings: Give Names When Speaker Changes

In writing up a news article based on a (vendor) phone briefing where there were three sources — all male — I’ve added another rule, or at least guideline, to my Best (well, Good Enough) Practices:

When there’s more than one source involved in a (phone) conversation, each time a different person speaks, they need to pause and re-ID who they are, so I can keep track, for quote attribution. Continue reading

Keeping Press Release Lists On Topic

I wish press release aggregators would manage topics better.ir-leasing.ru

Because one of my current gigs as a freelance technology writer is doing daily news stories (for InformationWeek SNB), I’m checking several of the press-release aggregating sites daily, like PR NewsWire For Journalists (media.prnewswire.com), and get several summary email messages from BusinessWire.com. Continue reading

Release The Facts! — No Name, No Price, No News, No Date = No Coverage

Along with feature articles, case histories, and interviews, at times I do news stories. For example, I’ve been doing about four a week for InformationWeek/SMB as of July 2010.

In general, I start with from a press release. Whenever possible, I follow up with a phone call (brokered usually by a PR person) to a company spokesperson to confirm or sort out the facts, and get some additional quotes or other information. Sometimes I also call an industry analyst, occasionally, if one’s available, a user, for additional quotes.

Many of the press releases have enough information to get me started.

But — depressingly — many don’t. Continue reading