Socializing the Newsroom


I was recently invited to participate in Online Newsroom Summit in September.  A great deal has changed over the years with respect to developing or “socializing” your newsroom.  Because companies are looking to accommodate social audiences, the newsroom is an area that has experienced a makeover.

When I first started working with companies to create their online newsrooms (although at the time we were calling them online pressrooms), these areas offered an excellent way to build relationships with journalists.  Newsrooms provided information and resources for their stories, making the company information gathering process extremely turnkey.  The idea was to have materials available, at any time, and, if necessary, without the assistance of a PR representative. Journalists would gather the resources they needed, when they needed it, having access to company’s information portal 24/7.

Today, as a result of social media, the newsroom has become an area for all of the company’s stakeholders, not just the media.  Bloggers, customers, prospects and partners searching for information, find an updated newsroom to be very useful.  As a matter of fact, many companies are renaming their newsrooms, opting for a “Media Center” or “News Center” as a repository for different groups to find all types of media.

It’s interesting to review how the newsroom has changed.  Back in early 2000, the best newsrooms included the following:

  • Company backgrounder
  • Facts sheet or company snapshot
  • Bios of executive or key team players
  • High resolution photos and logos
  • Executive presentations
  • Corporate videos and videos from company events
  • News releases (archived)
  • Links to past publicity
  • Links to helpful resources and industry partners

Ten plus years later, not only do we have the information listed above, but we also see a drastic change to the newsroom’s content and functionality, with the addition of the following new social features:

  • Blog communities with company executives or SMEs
  • Speaker and / or interview requests
  • Social media releases (SMRs)
  • Multimedia galleries
  • Podcasts for download
  • Optimization of content by tagging images and text for search engine relevancy
  • The ability to share newsroom content in a number of different social media communities
  • Icons to find, “Like” and/or follow the company in various social network communities
  • Tag clouds to see the most frequently tagged newsroom topics
  • Twitter feeds for products / services, and company conversations

Although all stakeholders find and use a company’s newsroom, we still organize information to suit the needs of journalists. It’s important to note that according the Bulldog / TekGroup International 2010 Online Journalist Survey on Media Relations Practices, “97% of journalists indicated that they use such sites in their work.”  The survey also revealed that nearly 45% of participants visit newsrooms more than once a week, with approximately 84% reporting that they visit at least once a month.

Here’s a list of a few really good examples of socialized newsrooms for you to review and consider, as you develop your own newsroom, media or news center for your website:

Starbucks

Ford

CIGNA

Microsoft

PRSA

Cisco

BASF

What are some of the best examples of socialized newsrooms that you’ve found? How are you changing the features and functionality of your company’s newsroom?


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Check out H&M’s ‘Social Media Newsroom’. I find it an interesting and refreshing approach, however they confuse me a bit by separating it so from their ‘regular’ news or press room.

  2. Great recap of what’s happening today Deirdre. I think it’s important to note also that every press release in the online newsroom of today can be and should be a social media release (it’s just formatting after-all – with the ability to include related content such as video, audio, links, documents, images and the ability to share it across multiple social media channels. Here are some examples: http://newsroom.ch2mhill.com/pr/ch2m/winnipeg-water-treatment-plant-202651.aspx

    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/species-extinction-rates-have-203632.aspx

    It’s also important to note that all video really needs to stream in HD quality right from the website – in today’s high-speed world, there is no reason to wait for a download (journalists and site visitors will simply leave), and video should be hosted in the newsroom AND posted to YouTube.

    Lastly, Newsroom content editors must have the ability to easily choose what displays on their homepage – so they can showcase feature stories, featured images, featured videos, story ideas, events and more – without depending on IT.

    Here are some addl. examples of online newsrooms across a range of industries:

    Xerox: http://news.xerox.com

    Yahoo! http://pressroom.yahoo.net

    UCLA: http://newsroom.ucla.edu

    The City of Carlsbad: http://news.carlsbadca.gov

  3. Deirdre says:

    Hi Chris! Thanks so much and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and insights on socializing the newsroom. You’ve made some really good points, especially about content editors having the ability to customize what displays on the homepage, without depending on IT. Great examples too!

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