I’ve just received a press release embedded in a PDF. It’s deadline day and to get the news in for the next issue I have to edit the text fast. I’ve got to open up the PDF and export the text or copy it.
Sometimes it works well and sometimes it picks up formatting, line breaks and other odd characters that need deleting or sorting out. It takes time and takes my attention away from the story. I could be phoning the sender to ask more questions instead of fiddling about on my laptop.
As a newspaper journalist how do I prefer to receive press releases?
In my experience, the best format for sending a press release is as the body text of an email. I can copy this and paste it straight into a text editor or word processing package.
The first thing I do is get rid of any text formatting, so don’t use fancy typefaces: often they simply make a press release more difficult to read.
How do I like to receive photos?
Just as text in PDFs can be awkward to extract so photos can be difficult to export. Generally, if someone embeds a photo in a PDF or a Word document, I ask them to send a separate file, preferably a high resolution JPEG.
Isn’t this being fussy?
Perhaps it doesn’t sound much, but when dealing with 10 or 20 press releases, this extra work adds a lot of extra time.
And it is a pure joy to receive a press release that can be used quickly and a high quality photo that jumps out of the screen.
It excites me and makes me take far more interest in the story.
Eliminate anything getting in the way
In my view, it’s best to eliminate any barrier that can hold back the excitement that a good story can create. Also, if you help journalists do their job and make it more enjoyable, they are far more likely to call you when they want comment or material.
That can only be good for your PR.
These are my experiences, but what are yours? What do you think works best?
• Robert Zarywacz is co-founder of pressme, business writer for the North Devon Journal and editor of #ndevon magazine.