• David Johnson

To press release or not to press release, that is the question…Or is it?

Are press releases dead?

In John Forberger’s recent article, Why your PR strategy must go beyond the press release, I couldn’t help but think about how many times, over the years, I read an article, column or blog where the relevancy of the press release is in question.

Though I agree with Forberger’s headline, I disagree with his position that most press releases are a waste of time and that reporter’s don’t read them.

This debate is never going away, and we can thank social media.

If you think I am exaggerating, type into any search engine the following question: Are press releases dead?

This is what Google gave me.

The above is just a sampling of articles and blogs circulating on the Internet.

Trust me, there is a lot more.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading other opinions on the topic because they offer an interesting perspective. But remember, they’re just opinions.

Truth be told, reporter’s still rely on them

When it comes to designing the ideal marketing strategy, one size doesn’t fit all.

The same is true for press releases, as well as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Earlier this year, I polled a number of reporters for their thoughts on the relevancy of the press release as a primary means to get information or story ideas.

All of them stated that they still rely on them.

According to a myNEWSdesk’s survey of journalists, editors, and communicators from the U.S. and Europe, the press release is the second most trusted source of information.

Holding down the top spot is the reporter’s own personal network.

The survey results also pointed out that social media, as a source of information for journalists, had declined.

Content is king, even in a press release

The press release can shape stories. If used correctly, it can serve as a valuable medium to get the attention of a reporter.

In his blog, Is the Press Release Dead?, Robert Bauer contends that it boils down to whether or not you have compelling content.

Before you send that press release to a reporter or editor, you should ask yourself, “Is it concise, interesting, and relevant? And above all else, is it news?”

If it’s yes to all the above, the odds are in your favor that the reporter will take notice and contact you.

Bottom line, the press release is still a viable tactic if you’re aiming to get a reporter’s attention.

So, where do we go from here?

I am certain we will continue to see articles, posts, and blogs calling for the death of the press release.

Newsrooms continue to shrink. This shouldn’t be a surprise. The latest Pew Research Center report confirms it.

My question is, “Why would you discard a tool that journalists are familiar with reading?”

Even still today, the 5W+H format – Who, What, When, Where, and Why + How – is the basic element of journalism and the press release.

My advice is, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re press releases work, stick with them.

The press release is here to stay

In this crowed landscape of communication, PR practitioners should always use a multi-channel/platform approach to getting their story noticed.

The press release, along with social media, is still a valuable tactical element of any PR program. It might not be right for everyone, but for many, it’s still relevant.

I am sure the debate over the value of the press release will continue for the unforeseeable future.

However, as long as there are reporters and stories, there will always be a need for the press release. #prinapinch; #kathancommunications; #mediarelations; #publicrelations


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