A few days ago, I wrote a post about the case of a journalist that had posted a copy of my friend's news release as if it was his own article. This got me thinking:
The smart newspaper editor (or whatever the title of the guy who is in charge of the copy on a newspaper's website) might see this and start to look at his website traffic more closely. If he was really smart, and had the right information, he'd begin to find out whether it was the articles written by journalists or the news releases written by PR pros and simply posted by journalists that got the most traffic.
The smart editor would also have to pay attention to the types of traffic he was attracting. 1000 visitors that don't click on ads or otherwise generate revenue are worth less than the one visitor that buy's a print subscription to the newspaper, clicks on an ad or otherwise helps them keep the lights on and server running.
The smart PR pro might then realize that they could tilt the balance of things in their favor by writing news releases that can be easily re-purposed by journalists, and that will also result in revenue-generating traffic. It is probably easier said than done, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.
And is it a slippery slope, as Todd Defren writes? Definitely.