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February 23, 2011
Online Newsrooms Are PR Places
 
There's so much capability these days to represent an organization well via a website that PR people ought to be busy as the dickens designing and maintaining online newsrooms. Yet the complaint, as witnesses a Rich Teplitsky post on Beyond the Hype, is that PR often plays second fiddle to IT or marketing on newsrooms intended to attract media and other interested web travelers. Sad, because online communication is fundamentally about building relationships, not displaying flashy techniques. 

It's so important to remember that marketing isn't necessarily public relations. What supposedly attracts customers may repel users. Consciousness of the relationships at stake in a given setting is always key. And that calls for the cooperative management of online newsrooms that put access and relationship-building first.

Yet it's not always thus. "Unless PR has overall responsibility for an entire Website," Rich Teplitsky writes, "or if PR is even polled for recommendations when building the online newsroom section, we're usually forced to grapple with managing and organizing extreme amounts of content into an existing design. Often, we have to learn yet another content management system (if we're directly entrusted with updating the site), or worse yet, we continue to wait in line for a Webmaster to post timely news and other updates."

Teplitsky has more to say along these dismaying lines. But approaching online display with the recognition that content – useful, insightful, trustworthy content – is king, not display techniques in themselves, can make an online newsroom the PR asset it ought to be.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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