As I have mentioned before, my mom has been working in Public Relations as long as I can remember. One term I frequently remember hearing a lot growing up was “press release.” I never fully understood what my mom’s job was when I was young, but if someone asked I knew I wasn’t wrong in saying she wrote press releases for a living. She of course did a lot more than that, but press releases were a large portion of her job. These days, I still hear her talking about press releases, but I hear her talking about a whole lot more as well.
I do not believe that the press release is dead. I do believe because of social media and other new technologies, the press release is not the star player for PR professional anymore and being used more effectively now. In the early days of PR, if an organization wanted to share news with a large audience, it was either through television, radio, or newspapers. The proper form of communication to these mass media outlets was a press release; therefore, press releases were constantly being used in every play. (Excuse the football references. I have been on a Friday Night Lights kick lately.)
Today, organizations do not need television, radio, and newspapers to deliver all their news to the public. Communication between organizations and their publics is more efficient and effective. There are times to send press releases, times to tweet, times to blog, times to Facebook, and times to send a social media release.
Whether the press release is really a dying breed will ultimately be up to journalists and news outlets. If they want to continue using press releases to get stories, PR professionals will be smart to give them what they want. I do predict that this trend of less dependence on press releases will continue because of other ways to pitch news.