PR Peeves #6, #7, #8 and #9: Why News Is Boring

February 15, 2013

I previously wrote that news may be becoming passé (see “No News Is Bad News”).  Media is not blameless.

These are challenging times for reporters, editors, producers, public relations practitioners and others in the news business.  Addressing the following “PR peeves” would help rejuvenate the news business:

Me, Too.  Reporters often want exclusivity.  So why do they cover the same stories ad nauseum?  How many stories did we need to read about Facebook’s IPO or Steve Jobs’ health?

This is especially problematic today, given that media are short staffed.  With the limited number of reporters covering the same stories as other media outlets, we get homogenized news.  Why not take the opposite approach?  Let the other media outlets cover the “me, too” stories and have your reporters write about something different?

Creating News.  When media are all competing for the same story, enterprising reporters try to find new angles.  In the process, they sometimes create news where none exists.  A non-profit whose board I serve on recently had to deal with a negative story in The Boston Globe.  The reporter created a story where there was none – but at least she had a story that was different from that of competing media.

Big Company Bias.  Big companies get big coverage, even though they are dysfunctional and boring.  Facebook’s IPO is, again, an example.  Small companies are the innovators and are mostly ignored.  The real IPO story is that small companies are no longer going public, given the cost, regulations and other factors.  It’s a major reason that our economy is barely growing and unemployment remains high.

Big PR Agency Bias.  PR agencies get big money for publicizing big companies.  Anyone can do that.  Try publicizing a start-up.  A big agency will cost big money, but won’t always deliver big results.

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