Friday, July 25, 2008

What Travolution is going to do with press releases

There appears to be increasing amounts of moaning and groaning about the state of the travel press - it's PR-driven, cut and paste jobs of press releases, no follow-ups or a second perspective, copying content from other media without reference to the source, etc.

Some media providers are more guilty than others, but to counteract one element - re-writing press releases - we are conducting an experiment over the next few weeks.

From now on Travolution will publish in full as many of the press releases it can on the main Travolution website.

These articles in the news section of the site will be clearly marked with "Press Release" at the beginning and not bylined by any Travolution staffer.

Announcements that we feel should be followed up - or are time-sensitive - will be analysed and written by our own team.

It could, of course, backfire horribly in some way, but we'll see.

Please let us know what you think.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


JX said...

Great idea! There's soo much advertorials/plugging and other noise, which we could all do without. Its events and analyis complied with data which provides the use, press releases will change however change shape/look and may camouflage themselves to reflect the increasing oncoming tide of instant aggregation/filtering services such like Friendfeed etc, which may/could/do provide ease of timely choice via transparancy through helpful and useful feedback.
For example,Techcrunch broke the news of Kayak/AA a couple of days ago by way of still as of yet unidentified sources, they still heven't confirm as far I'm aware, this clearly shows that certain information management providers will need to decide where their loyalties lie, before those interested lose faith in them.
For you I dread to think how much TB/magazine timespace is bogged down editing somebody's edits. Great news. Maybe summat like an identifier PR logo button may help, you click it if want to see it. Food for thought anyways, for a world of all of one belly, but not of always of one mind.+.

Travolution Blogger said...

JX: thanks for the comments. i have put a special logo against each article - good suggestion!

Here is an example.

in the coming months we will have an even better way of indicating this to users.

Darren Cronian said...

Hmmm. I'd prefer to read Travolutions opinions on the press releases, rather than publishing what will be duplicate content, if the press release is published around the net.

That's my opinion mind :)

Travolution Blogger said...

Thanks Darren, maybe we could have a 'leave a comment' facility after the releases enabling Travolution and others to put some spin and opinion on it.

Linda Fox, lead reporter, Travolution

Darren Cronian said...

That sounds like a good idea Linda!

Anonymous said...

i thought the trade press was there to promote the sales messages of a selected few companies in our industry :)

Travolution Blogger said...

Anonymous: yes, that is certainly a valid argument. Our point here is that we will attempt to host the messages of many organisations as we can but let the user decide whether they want to har about it or not.

Our focus has to be to provide decent analysis and exclusive news, rather than cutting and pasting "news".

Gemma said...

This is certainly a worthwhile experiment. I wonder if readers will look upon some press releases as advertorials if news comes direct from the company instead of the journalist.

Travolution Blogger said...

Gemma: thanks for your comments.

i suspect travolution readers are astute enough to understand that most of the 'news' they are reading in many publications is a cut and pasted press release.

at least what we are trying to do is offer two forms of coverage - press releases (if you want to read it, you'll do it) and off-diary, exclusive, follow-ups, etc, which they know they wan't be able to get elsewhere.

Ruth@OrchidPR said...

As a PR who sends releases to Travolution I like the sound of this. Will the number of views be recorded? It would be good to know what brands, headlines and issues the web visitors are attracted to. And comments would be great too.

On the subject of cutting and pasting releases it is without doubt 'lazy journalism' to do this, although there are some PRs who consider it a compliment - 'my release was so well written they didn't even edit it!'

Lazier still though are those journalists who elaborate on stories without getting the facts right and get us in trouble with the client - not something Travolution has been guilty of in my experience I hasten to add...

I will watch the experiement with interest