Who Wrote That News Story?

A few days ago, a friend of mine mentioned that a news release she had written and issued to the media was re-posted on a news website by a journalist verbatim, without credit to my friend or her organization for writing the release, as if it were a story that person had written. My friend wasn't happy with it, and seemed to suggest that it was laziness on the part of the journalist. My response?

We spend hours drafting news releases, making sure that key messages and all the right information is in there. This is to make sure that a journalist has all the info they need to write their story.

When a journalist does report on a story, and gets the facts wrong, we'll throw up our hands and say, "Oh, they just didn't get what I was trying to say! If only they'd read the briefing material or news release more closely!"

So to my friend who had her news release reprinted: I think this is the best possible situation. Your client's news got into the media without any distortion. Your news release was written well enough that he didn't find a need to rewrite it, and that was probably one of the reasons it got published. If the journalist had needed to rewrite it, he might not have had the time and it might not have gotten published.

Being a communicator is a job without a lot of glory. When things go well (as in this case), no one really notices. If you want to get your name out there, become an author or a journalist. Communicators work in the background.

What do you think, readers? Have you ever had someone publish a news release that you've written without credit to you? How do you feel about the fact that this is happening?


PS: When I wrote this post, I purposely didn't read the post that my aforementioned friend, Bonnie Dean, wrote about it. I'm going to go read it now to get her perspective, and you should too: You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth.