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A Top PR Tip from Malaysia
Use technology to make a reporter's job easier.
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 by Eng Swee

Eng SweeI do not know if the situation is the same elsewhere outside Malaysia, but I feel many local PR practitioners are still not very well-equipped with computer knowledge and Internet skills. 

How do I know?

Well, I have seen many reporters who come back from press conferences with stacks of paper notes and brochures in fancy little press kits. Most of the time, these comprise sheets and sheets of data. Regardless of whether the press conference is about a product launch or a public announcement from a local authority, it's the same.

As the deadline draws nears, the poor reporter would have to struggle over the bundles of hardcopy. If statistics make up a big part of the story, the reporter then has to input all the figures.

Many times, too, I have briefed reporters to ask for electronic copies should data be needed. Even press releases and speeches, if provided by electronic copy via Word or Notepad, can save the reporter a lot of finger walking and prevent misquotes to a certain degree.

So far, I have yet to be lucky except for once. It was a tourism promotion launch and an image makeover organized by an Australian tourism board which I had covered.

I could not imagine my surprise seeing a small CD neatly tucked in the pocket of my press kit. The CD contained a trailer of advertisements the board would be airing on local TV, audio files of the intended radio commercials, print ads, speeches of the VIPs both in video, audio and Word, and of course the press release in Word, not to mention vector graphics of logos and swatches of their corporate colors.

What a delight it must have been for the journalists covering the event. Whether the reporters were from newspapers, radio or TV stations, the thoughtful and enlightened PR practitioners had covered all corners.

All the materials needed are there and could easily be converted to any media from print to broadcast and even online, immediately. All the editors needed to do was to download the appropriate format for their medium without being crippled by time or technology.

I could imagine an editor's face light up at the amount of time saved by the thoughtful PR practitioner's simple gesture. And without doubt, the journalists covering the event could produce more in-depth stories now that they were not hard pressed for time to get everything organized for their reports.

Eng Swee is a journalist with 20 years of experience in reporting and editing, 
an associate member of the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia
and currently works at a leading newspaper in Malaysia.
He runs a blog at

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