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

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 (, and get several summary email messages from 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

Include City/State Location And Date In All Event Invites/Reminders

Here’s the sanitized (anonymized) start email I got today:

Subject: Countdown: One week away! Register today!

[EVENT NAME HERE] Expo + Conference


Last Chance to Register in Advance for the 2009 [EVENT] Expo + Conference!

What’s missing from the entire message is any mention of where — like a city and state — the heck this event is. Continue reading

(CES and other) Show Invite Emails Should Include Key Info! And Track ‘Em!

CES — the big annual Consumer Electronics Show ( is a few weeks ago, and, since I preregistered as Press, I’m getting lots — probably several dozen or more — “we’ll be there, can we set up an appointment” or similar messages daily.

I have no problem with this; it’s the nature of the beast.

But… and especially in the case of mega-large events like CES, vendors (and their PR agencies) could make it easier (well, less hard) on us press folks by MAKING EMAIL USEFUL and TRACKING YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH US. Continue reading

Don’t Use Pop-Ups For Your Press Releases

The whole idea of posting press releases on your web site is so that the press can read them. Easily. And quickly. If a reporter is on deadline — or is doing a topical article, where one of your competitors would be just as acceptable as your company — you don’t want to inject unnecessary obstacles.

So I’m trying to look at press releases for this site — it doesn’t matter which — and while I’ve found the web page that has a list of them, and when I click on the links, nothing happens. Continue reading