PR Newswires – Does a Press Release Lead to Media Coverage?

By Mark Macias

There is a misrepresentation that press releases will lead to a story in the local newspaper, or a segment on TV. I hear it all the time from potential clients.

“Why do I need a PR firm when I can post my own press releases?”

Here’s a closer look at how journalists, producers and reporters all view the different PR newswires. I’m basing this analysis on my experience inside the newsrooms of NBC, CBS, King World Productions, the Arizona Republic and KTVK in Phoenix.

How Reporters View Press Releases

There is a misconception that journalists are dying for story ideas and press releases will get you on their radar. Journalists aren’t dying for ideas. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Reporters are bombarded with ideas from publicists, news sources, their editors, readers/viewers, friends, etc. They don’t need more information. They need curated editorial ideas.

Journalists know that the various PR newswires are paid story ideas from companies. Or in simple terms, they know they are commercials for products and services. In a newsroom culture, seconds make the difference between being a hero or missing your deadline. Reporters don’t have to look through the different PR newswires for ideas. This is universal, regardless of whether you are trying to reach reporters in print, online or TV.

Sales people at these press release distribution companies may promise you news coverage, but listen closely to their pitch. They promote impressions, but impressions do not lead to coverage. An active media outreach with reporters is a crucial component behind every successful media campaign.

Newswires that Reporters Read

There is a big difference with actual newswires, like the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, News One, Newschannel, etc. These stories are written by journalists and are shared with their media subscribers. Reporters in the different beats – healthcare, consumer, political, metro, etc – review these newswires closely. In many newsrooms, this is the first source for news and ideas.

Macias PR was named the 2015 and 2016 top PR Firm of the Year – USA by Finance Monthly. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.