Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

The Quality of online information will be self-regulating..

ZDNet journalist David Berlind poses a number of interesting questions in a recent posting. In particular he tackles the spectrum of journalists and bloggers and their willingness (or not) to publish and be damned (i.e. don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story). He also asks can PR people adapt to shorter news cycles, and in particular the instant deadlines imposed by blogs.

These are interesting questions, particularly for anyone involved in communications on behalf of individuals or organizations.

First and foremost, I believe that, for the most part, journalists and bloggers who take the time to check their facts will, over time, attract a wider audience than those just willing to post any unsubstantiated rubbish online. Credibility is important in any communications medium and the Internet, and faster turnaround, does not change that. There are exceptions. The Internet provides the perfect medium for connecting like minded individuals. As a result if “Group A” find an unsubstantiated rumor that attacks “Group B”, then many of the participants in Group A will be happy to publish, read and discuss that rumor regardless of its basis in fact. But for the majority, credibility is not a commodity.

On the question of PR people meeting the needs on online publishing, there is no question we can do a better job turning around queries. However, there needs to be a sense of realism here. There are limited resources available, executives have busy schedules and sometimes there are valid reasons why certain information takes longer to produce. So while PR people need to raise the bar, I also believe that there needs to be some agreed rules of engagement around what is an acceptable turnaround time for an incoming request. I’m sure we’ve all been victim to an incoming request for comment at 5.45pm for a deadline of 6pm which has been specifically delayed to try and get a rushed response or worse an “unavailable for comment”.

There are going to be speedbumps as we evolve into new publishing cycles, however it will only work if we agree some standard rules of engagement for the behavior of both parties.

More on David’s post from Andy Lark and Jeremy Pepper.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 10, 2005 at 11:22 am

Posted in General

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