Not much, if the public relations writer understands journalism.
What's the difference between the old journalism and the new journalism? A great deal, which is important to understand if you want to get your media releases used, whether it be in print, in social media, or on the air.
Publicity, which is a basic purpose of the media release, uses the release as a basic tool. It's not an end in itself, despite the artistry of a good release. Its purpose is to communicate—an idea, a fact, a product's value or superiority. It should inform, it should be read by a target audience, it should clarify or persuade. And it should get published. Granted, good PR is more than the press release, but it all boils down to the media—to telling the story.
In the early days, well before many of today's public relations practitioners were born, media consisted primarily of the publication and the broadcast media. It was somewhat easier than it is today. We learned a few things that are still applicable today—if today it's somewhat more complex.
We learned that the press release competes for space with the publication's staff journalists. Therefore, it had to be consistent with the publication's editorial style and substance.
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