In the past few weeks, I’ve come across a handful of blog posts and articles perpetuating what appears to be a heated PR 2.0 debate: is the press release dead or not? Since WWPR members are very active in the PR arena, I am certain that you, too, continue to see these “press release life-or-death” kinds of a headlines in your email subject lines as well.

WWPR Member Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

The Wax Blog claims it found 48 million search results on Google for the term “the press release is dead.” When I did my own Google search for “is the press release dead,” some of the links to web sites, blog posts and articles for this subject went as far back as early 2006.

Now, five years later, this burning-bush question about the press release’s purpose, impact and usefulness in today’s PR 2.0 world continues to surge forward.  As I dug deeper into this seemingly heated subject, I came across many great pros and cons for the press releases’ fate and mortality.

The compilation of comments below, which were randomly collected from a variety of sites and blogs, reveal the many colorful opinions folks far and wide have about the life or death of the press release:

Arguments to keep the press release alive and well

  • a powerful press release can tell a story, report news, or help a cause
  • press releases provide good information for TV reporters who need quick sound bites for their stories
  • press releases  provide an important vehicle of information for breaking news or crisis communications
  • social media is not *yet* mainstream; there are enough people not “doing it”
  • Twitter’s limitation to 140 characters is just not enough to disseminate news
  • investors and stakeholders still need to get information and they’re not all on Twitter
  • enough traditional media outlets are still out there and a press release is still one of the best ways to get the news out
  • the media has not fully embraced social media yet and, with limited resources, they are not likely to devote the time to sifting through it to obtain initial information
  • the older population still prefers the press release as they are not technically savvy
  • Arguments to kill the press release now and forever

  • too much that’s put out as a release is not newsworthy
  • people can’t write
  • “Help a Reporter Out” (HARO) has already replaced the press release
  • companies think a press release is all they need to do to generate stories
  • just as the era of “mass resumés” is over, so should be the era of mass press releases
  • the amount time, energy, resources wasted on press releases is truly one of the great mysteries of our time
  • press releases simply have lost their effectiveness
  • the traditional press release is a dreadful animal–read by few–and should be put out of its misery
  • the press release is not conversational or engaging
  • news releases are widely misused for all sorts of reasons
  • most journalists see past racy headlines
  • if the press release is in someone’s email inbox, that means it’s already out there and is no longer news
  • The above sentiments are hardly all-inclusive. I found many solid and wonderful arguments both for and against the press release. And the intensity of this debate was clearly evident in many of the spirited comments and strong opinions found throughout the web.Some individuals were quite vocal in their disdain for this “debate” stating that to debate the value of a press release is, for all intents and purposes, is a completely ridiculous waste of time. Rather, this group of passionate PR folk would like the “debate” to shift more to format or medium or approach rather than the worthiness or power of a single document. In the end, based on my findings and recent readings on this topic, what has become crystal clear is that both sides of this live-or-die press release fence have valid points worthy of consideration.

    The bottom line is this: the way news is reported, disseminated, monitored and shared today in comparison to yesteryear has surely evolved. Does this mean social media has killed the press release?? While a specific segment of the PR population may vehemently argue “yes” in response to that question, my findings on this subject lean strongly to a resounding “no.”

    So what do you think? Your thoughts and comments on this subject are welcome!