Updating Directions Media’s Press Release Policy

By Adena Schutzberg

Every publisher, online and otherwise, has to deal with the press release, the "still going strong" document of corporate communications. Some media outlets publish all the releases they receive, some ignore them, some rewrite them into articles, some charge to publish them... I'm confident they've made those choices based on their mission, staffing and the economy, as well as the needs of their readers and those distributing the press releases.

Here at Directions Media we are making a change to our press release policy, one we hope will serve all the stakeholders in our network of readers and advertisers. For many years we've requested that any organization that has a press release related to geospatial use our online form to post it to our website. (There's a one-time registration process to help weed out spammers and to be sure we have contact information.) Once the text of the release and a few other fields are filled out and submitted, we review the release, only to be sure it is relevant to our readers before publishing it to our website. A subset of press release titles, with links, is included in our daily newsletter.

Many in our community have become pros at the process and regularly see their posts exactly how and when they prefer. Other organizations continue to send releases to one (or more) of the Directions Media staff. Sometimes we reply with a request that the sender post the release and other times we submit the release on the organization's behalf. Further, many organizations have been the beneficiaries of a staffer (often me) finding an interesting release and adding it to the pile of releases to be posted by a colleague (often our publisher, Jane Elliott).

The change, then, to take place officially on Nov. 1, is this: we will no longer post press releases on behalf of any organization. We will leave that to the organization or its PR team. We feel strongly that the press release is an important communications tool and we want the submitting organization to have as much control over the release as possible. Further, we want to continue to offer the publication of releases as a free service, or as we prefer to see it, as a public service. To do that, we need to free up our staff to do the hard work of researching, writing, editing, formatting and creating the content that distinguishes Directions Media offerings.

Rest assured, every press release posted is distributed to all our editors, so we will all see your news and announcements. Further, please trust that we will contact organizations (or PR reps) if we want to follow up with questions or request an interview. With this minor change we believe we will better serve our readers and support our advertisers.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this change or have any trouble using our automated submission process.

Published Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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