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 newsroom-secrets.blogspot.com
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