субота, 12 липня 2008 р.

Wisdom of the crowd: що професіонали зі всього світу думають про прес-конференції

Кілька постів тому я вже писав, що запитання на LinkedIn'і про використання прес-конференцій викликало бурхливе обговорення.
Коли кількість постів сягнула 50, я не витримав і вирішив поділитися точками зору зі всього світу (Європа, Азія, США, Канада, Індія).
Точне питання звучало наступним чином: Are press conferences becoming obsolete?
В переліку імен є й прізвища українських спеціалістів, знайомі більшості читачів цього блогу).
Нижче - довгий пост і невеличкий бонус для найтерплячіших ))

Volodymyr Gaidash
Head of Corporate Communications at Arterium
I have just analysed 3 annual finalising press conferences conducted by my company - a major Ukrainian pharmaceutical producer.I still think there is a potential in press conferences as means to participate in dialogue with journalists.

Whereas the number of media outlets who took part decreased annually from 26 in 2006, 21 in 2007 and just 7 in 2008, my press service managed to maintian fairly the same level of press coverage. I think this happened due to increased "saturation" of our press conferences with interesting news and announcements. In other words we provided the news which were more newsworthy.

Pavel Urusov
Editor-in-Chief of PC Gamer UA
In my opinion, press conferences have largely lost their significance as informative events. They are more of a reason to hang out with other people in industry.

Kyrill Ladygin
PR Director - Head of PR Dpt. at MTT (Multiregional TransitTelecom)
Yes, Volodymyr, I seem face-to-face press-conf is much more efficient than press-release for example. Number and QUALITY of the following publications are different. And my impression it comes because of the ability to say more than just a few words about the very topic. And journalists like live speach more than prepared phrases writen in press-release. They also can make good live fotos they can use in many cases and not only with the text about this particular inf. matter.
May be they also understand that company pays more attention to the topic if spends money (up to 10 thousand in Moscow) for press-conf in some good hotel conference hall.
Yes we know some other ways to give information to mass media, but if you work in transparent and well-known company with good reputation and this goodwill is precious for you I don't think you will use these ways. Moreover their efficiency could be low and you can meet problems with journalists interests in case of not very decent acting.

Philippe Borremans
Managing Director, Blackline - Social Media Consulting
I do think it all depends on the media culture of the country...

I know for instance that press conferences still work very well in France but are less interesting in Belgium... But then again, if you have real news, people will come...

I used to do just 1 press conference a year for IBM - the yearly press meeting, a kind of annual get together and update event - but did an average of 2 face to face interviews/week.

In general, reporters are being stretched because of more and more "news", less reporters to cover it and the speed of online communications.

So before you take the time and effort to set up a press conference, check if the news value is what it should be and go from there.

Lilia Zagrebelna
PR Manager at Foyil Securities
Press conference is a classic PR tool. As it has been invented long ago and is still alive, so this evinces that the function it accomplishes is really important. We should always differentiate between goals and tasks and effective tools these goals to achieve.

Shivang Mehta
PR, Corporate Communications & Media Relations for Bharti Telesoft (1000+ Linkedin Connections)
I feel press conferences are gradually becoming a strain on the company's resources. My initial experience with press conferences around 6-7 years back was very positive as journalists used to visit the event and the messages could be communicated freely. Gradually, I have seen a change in media mindset and journos are reluctant to attend a press conference and prefer a simple press release that can be used for placements in their publications. Initially I thought that quality of news to be dessiminated through a conference does matter. However, the situation did not improve even if the news was of high importance.

Rob McKenzie
Output Editor at Russia Today
I work in television and news conferences are the last thing any decent news broadcaster needs. There are NO pictures! They can be a good vehicle for getting your message to the written press or radio .. but certainly not television.
There is one exception, and I would say they are a valuable tool for Business TV at the time or results or major announcements with all the major players in one spot.
For general News, they can be the last event in a build up where pictures and interviews are done ahead of the event on embargo for instance. They are the peg to hang your tv story on.
I'm currently working in Russia, and its so difficult to get it through to some of my colleagues that the news conference in NOT the news .. it's what comes out of the conference that makes news. That's why watching some Russian news programmes can be like watching paint dry .. full of grey men in grey suits sitting behind a bank of microphones give grey platitudes without serious questioning.
Hope this helps.
Rob McK

ravi sampat
Chief Manager Marketing at ICICI Bank
The press conference in some cases are still irreplaceable.
1) Entering a new country
2) Launch of path breaking product eg. Nano - Worlds cheapest car or Apple any product
3) Quarterly results with top brass of corporate
4) Celebrity endorsed press conferences
amongst the few.
Some companies like apple have built up press conference as a part of there strategy and its well hyped and most sought after event in its category.
Its very clear though that any corporate would not get lots of attention just because its conducting a press con.. as there are alternative means available for achiving the same result.
P.C. if intergrated in communication strategy well will not go obsolete


Bruce Pilgrim
Marketing Communications Writer/Editor & Consultant
Press conferences are appropriate in a crisis or disaster situation. Not so much as a PR tool.

CEOs imagine themselves on a podium festooned with microphones in a room full of reporters wearing fedoras with "Press" cards sticking out of their hat bands, all eagerly shouting questions, while flash bulbs pop incessantly.

The reality is the poor PR person desperately trying to round up any available body to attend these non-events, calling in favors, offering bribes, and even sometimes setting up stand-ins pretending to be journalists as in a recent FEMA press conference.

Real journalists prefer to get their own stories, talk to sources one-on-one, and not have to jostle with a gaggle of other bodiies in a poorly ventilated room.

In the U.S., the press conference as a PR tool is only appropriate in a crisis or political issue on a national level. Steve Jobs might helm a well-attended presser, but the average PR client just can't generate sufficient buzz to drag the media to a staged event.

You might try announcing in advance that you are providing an open bar and extremely attractive hosts and hostesses, but I doubt even that will significantly bump up attendance.


Brian Olson
Vice President of Public Affairs at Video Professor
Yes.

Derek Karchner
Senior Account Executive at Rosenberg Communications, Inc.
As the central vehicle for releasing news, they're not "becoming" obsolete; they are already obsolete. There are limited circumstances where they can be used to great effect. But by and large smaller scale media outreach, particularly personal contact and relationships yield better, deeper coverage of your product, company, or message.

Our clients know that we would never ask them to waste money on a press conference unless we were absolutely convinced it was necessary.

Olga Gnativ
Novynar at KP Media
To be short I think that press conferences will never die :-)

Unless PR, press and marketing people will eliminate its value by inviting hundreds of a journalist every week to tell them about "Another Success in the Project for a Project that was Launched in Terms of Another Big Project to Meet Dramatic Challenges that company XXXXX is Facing" :-)
In such a growing informational stream it is really to important to set priorities and for a journalist its crucial as for many other people who work in short deadlines.
Sometimes face-to-face conferences are really helpful when you need to get to people who are not too easy to reach. And if you gather them in one place at one time, journalists will be glad to come. In this way you can save journalist's time and he or she will appreciate that.

But it is only when press conference has real values in it’s content. Hence, in my opinion, next time you want to arrange a press conference ask yourself: “Would you bother to attend it, if you where a busy journalist?”

Shankar Barua
Managing Trustee at The Academy of Electronic Arts
They are obsolete if you do not buy or otherwise control the press.

Otherwise, they serve perfectly as collective formal announcement-forums for journos-on-a-leash, as well as presentation opportunities for total-control photo-ops and hand-outs.

It seems to be pretty much the same for most other methodologies.

The routine current practice of PR agencies in India is to have a bunch of young stringers whose job is to just buddy-up with particular press-people,.. for use as and when.

On the other hand, the press is also hungry as hell these days, so structuring a story to properly whet their appetites counts for a lot too.

Keep well ~ Shankar
Clarification added 1 month ago:
PS. a part of the trick these days is to target columns and pages and TV-slots *exactly*, so as to deliver the goods for a precise fit that the press would find irresistible. (e.g. celebrity, scandal, text-materials to work with, pics & footage to use, good photo-ops, a general air of excitement, and so on).

Банзай Юрко
Керівник ІТ-напрямку at МТМедіасофт
Мені здається, що пресухи можуть залишитися хорошим інструментом, інша справа, що їх потрібно трансформувати в інший формат. Як по мені, варто відійти від традиційної історії презентації-запитання-фуршет, більше акцентувати уваги на неформальному спілкуванні (інша справа, що для цього потрібно готувати спікерів...).
А ще, вихлоп після прес-конференції залежить виключно від якості поданого матеріалу. Себто, тему потрібно подати таким чином, щоби журналіст зміг без зайвих клопотів продати її своєму редакторові. Якщо такої теми нема -- то вже таки проблема, інша справа, що, як би там не було, прес-конференції досі залишаються чи не єдиним місцем, де можуть зустрітися профільні журналісти.
Так, телекомщики ще ходять на четвергові медіа-клуби, але щоразу флегматичніше. На великий відкритий медіа-клуб я не зміг зібрати грошиків (деякі компанії таки не зрозуміли, навіщо їм це потрібно). А потреба у спілкуванні між профільними журналістами таки існує. І замість нас її ніхто не вирішить.

Abhay Raj Mishra
Business Head & Consultant Trainer at Agile Partners

I would say that the scenerio may vary from country to country. In India I have invariably seen that success of press con depends on news element though, yet many a times realtionshiops , follow ups and who's rganizing overtakes the newworthiness.Again In India ,media response is different in every state ,every city.To conclude here In India it depends...

Thanks
abhay

Anna Papka Press Office at Bank Pekao, UniCredit Group
No – because this is still a good occasion for the media to mix with the company’s management and spokespeople informally and to get exclusive information directly from them – here I do not mean separate queries from the press, but the news/facts that would be published in connection with the occasion of the conference. Let’s assume such an occasion is worth its announcement – here it is not always enough to send out a press release – first, not all of them are read, and second – most papers would want to publish sth on top of generally distributed info.

Yes, they are obsolete in cases company management is willing to hold a press conference without any particular reason (from the journalists’ point of view). These busy days, no serious journalist would bother to waste his/her time to come and listen about, say ‘next branch opening’, or ‘a new improved product launch’, or ‘our great new structure’ etc

Mark Mikelat
Speaker, Trainer and Coach - BuildingAspirations.com
Any type of communication strategy needs to be comprehensive to your market.

I moderated a press conference for international business Match Making a short time ago and it was a big success.

A press conference is only one of many communications strategies.

Even in the world of electronic communication, research still documents and supports the idea that face to face communication is critical.


Mark Weaver
Owner, Communications Counsel, Inc.
A well organized news conference, with the right elements of newsworthiness and an aggressive call-out effort to the appropriate news media representatives is still a very effective way to garner earned media.

Unfortunately, the plethora of news conferences that are poorly thought out has the effect of cluttering up the marketplace and souring many reporters.

Our firm continues to get strong media coverage for our clients because we concentrate on the elements I discussed above.

Pallavi Deshmukh
Assistant Manager- Corporate Communications- BIGFlix
Well, arranging press conferences varies from country country taking into consideration various aspects like the type of news, the genre of publications etc.

Press Conference is still one of the important PR tolls today though companies planning to hold or arrange press conferences need to have strong reasons to do so. It is a good format with a one to many format, where the company needs to communicate to the media about big ticket plans, diversifications, AGMs etc.

It proves to be a great platform for the company spokesperson to communicate with media across on a single platform. Apparently, the media too has a chance to get a better understanding about the company with a presentation on the company and its products staright from the horses mouth. It is very important to make the media feel important and priveleged communicators / stakeholders.

Razvan Stoica
Copywriter
The key, as with all PR, is to have something relevant to say. The bar for relevance is incredibly high nowadays, so...if you're not announcing the Second Coming or the invention of hot water on tap, a press conference will turn out to be a contrived waste of time and energy every time.

Michelle Metzger
Senior Manager of Marketing Communications at Entrust, Inc.
It depends on your company/client, as well as your geographic location. In the US, only big celebrities, sports teams and very high profile politicians still attract enough media to warrant a press conference. If your organization wants to do a press conference, the best bet is to call it anything BUT a "press conference" and invited both the media, customers, employees, investors, local elected officials (good potential speakers as well) and partners to attend it. Other labels could be - "Ribbon Cutting," "Open House," "Pinning Ceremony" or invent some award and hold an "Award Ceremony." Again, make sure the room already will be packed with others in your sphere of influence to ensure the room will be full. If you do secure some of the very fickle media to attend, at least when they come, there will be a full room to greet them, which lets them know they are in the "happening" spot for news. Therefore, they're coverage of your event and news will be much more likely. If they come, and they're the only ones there, they might just turn and walk out the door - or worse, ask a few questions to be polite then leave.

In other countries, press conference can be much more effective. In China, for example, the media is still state run (run by the government), so if you have a "Signing Ceremony" with an elected official presiding, the media generally will show up and cover your event with whatever PR materials you give them about the event itself. You'll be expected to provide a monetary 'per diem' type of gratuity to attending media, as well as a gift, but the coverage you can secure will be well worth it.

Another alternative to a press conference might be a cocktail reception or a luncheon/breakfast where your executive team plans to unveil some very important news. Make sure to have other significant parties there - customers, high profile guests who are impacted by your news, etc. - to help attract them. Reporters typically find it harder to resist events with free food and/or alcohol, but they still need a story to 'sink their teeth' into in order to justify the time away from the office and other breaking news.

Again - call it anything but a "press conference" and you'll be much more likely to score reporters' attendance and their pen covering your news.

David Politis
Strategic marketing communications expert; Pres., Politis Communications; CEO, SOAR Communications; and more
No, press conferences are NOT becoming obsolete . . . IF they are strategized, planned and used at the right times for the right organizations to promote the right news.

Case in point, we recently held a press conference here in Salt Lake City, Utah (in the United States) to promote the fact that CrimeReports.com (a service provided by our client, Public Engines) had been tapped by the Attorney General of Utah and would be made available for free to every law enforcement agency in Utah.

This press event was held on "Capitol Hill" during the six-week legislative session in the state, with the Attorney General and the Speaker of the House in attendance, along with several chiefs of police from a number of the cities in the state, including the Chief of Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake County Sherrif.

Invites were distributed to all local media outlets, and only one major local media outlet did not attend, and we generated at least one story from every journalist who attended. We also streamed the event live on the Internet, and then published videos of the event on YouTube.

Was it worth holding a press conference for this client at this time with this announcement? Absolutely.

Sincerely,

David Politis

P.S. The story about the CrimeReports.com service has since been picked up by the Associated Press and has generated major coverage throughout the U.S. Did the press conference help in this regard? In my opinion, yes.


Wayne Ferrao
Associate at Bluelotus Communications
In my opinion Press Conferences have lost their sheen, they are being viewed as a platform to network and hang out with top executives of large companies, there is no focus on the newsworthyness of the event. Large organisations manage to pull in the media while smaller organisations struggle to get in the media even with a great story.

The newer trend is a selected press briefing where only relevent media is called in for the announcement

Jyotsna Angara
Public Relations and Communications Professional
Hi
I would say, press conferences are NOT becoming obsolete, atleast not in India. However, it would differ from country to country. It is one of the important and effective PR tool if used strategically. It is an excellent platform for communicating with media and share information about the company. Any face to face communication is critical to an organisation’s communication strategy.

As you said, with the information stream increasing every day, media staff decreasing drastically, traffic snarls increasing and journalists having to work on multiple assignments and many more such issues in life today, one has to be very precise in their planning. In this day and age where journalists are stretched for time, it is necessary to have complete clarity of your objectives and equally important to assess and justify if it calls for a large press conference. No doubt a well organized conference is an effective way to communicate, but it has to be news worthy too. The crux is to have something extremely relevant to say.

Depending on news value, you could also have a small group press briefing where only relevant media is called for the announcement.

Jyotsna

Iryna Manukovskaya
Account manager at SPN Ogilvy PR

the main value of face-to-face conference is possibility of human relations, private contacts. Such emotions are irreplaceable. They help people to establish business connections, and provide more efficiency communications (you can use speaker's charm, charisma, oratorical skills). In other case, press-conference will changes into rss reading.
Amy Power
Owner, Power Public Relations and Advertising
In the early 90s I worked with a team for Pepsi-Cola/South and Frito-Lay. Yes, we used to do them more often in the U.S. Today, I feel press conferneces are going the way of the dinosaur. I steer clients away from them. It seems that the only people who still utilize them are athletes and politicians.

Cindy Rakowitz
Co-founder, BR Public Relations
Due to the growth of communications technology, pr professionals have been forced to evaluate the relevance of a face to face press conference.
There are times when a live press conference is entirely necessary, particularly when media need to have the individual "q and a's" that follow the event. But, other communication vehicles should be seriously examined as an option.


Holly Reynolds
Director and Chief Storyteller, Left Field
Hi Volodymyr,

Great question and one we review constantly - simply because the value of a press conference will vary from client to client, media to media.

Our overarching view is that if the news is strong enough, the contacts good enough and the story is told well enough, a press conference is an unnecessary stress that doesn't equate to more or better coverage.

Bearing in mind we cater to a very specific market in Australia, I find that our media relations is far more effective by being highly targetted and working to help journalists develop their stories, rather than throw it to the masses and hope it sticks.

These events are often more about the theatre for the client, than the news for the journalist - so in my opinion whether to conference or not, needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.
Pete Smudde, Ph.D., APR
Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Illinois State University
Press conferences are still an important option in public relations. The biggest benefit of press/news conferences is they are single orchestrations of communication events that virtually ensure message consistency for gatekeeping media and their publics.

Many answers to your question so far noted that strategy is key. We cannot just hold a press/news conference without sufficient forethought and planning. We must make sure it's the right thing to do so we say the right things in the right way at the right time for the right reasons and for the right people.

Add to this strategic thinking the opportunities that technology presents to us. Press conferences can be held via satellite, so journalists anywhere can tune in and use the communication in their projects in broadcast and Internet media. News conferences also may be potentially viral. When recorded in video they can be posted on an organization's website, social-media sites, YouTube, blogs and others to help gain the results sought in a strategic PR plan.

The big question, however, for any news/press conference is, "What is the news?" The answer to that question should be clear to media organizations on their terms, not solely the hosting, "news making" organization's terms. This point brings us back to strategy, making sure we do and say the right thing in the right ways for the right reasons for the right people.

By the way, you may have noticed my use of the terms "press conference" and "news conference." I've found that some journalists do not use these terms synonymously. The former refers to communication events that organizations hold to brief members of the press on the status of things. The latter strictly refers to communication events organizations hold to announce breaking news. I'm not sure the distinction is all that critical, but it's at least interesting.

Sandra Salazar
Spokeswoman at Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO)
It depends on, at least, two factors:
1. The market - some are more competitive with reporters hungrier for anything involving drama. If this is the case, you mus supply the drama. For example, if you are a pharmaceutical, have a patient eith a moving story willing to talk about how the new drug changed his/her life, show before/after video or photos, etc. If you are in a less demanding market, you might just get away with a "memorable moment" (a powerful visual that summarizes the event in a few seconds), preferable with lots of natural sound. This will help you two ways: you will have a bit more than a 10-second voice-over coverage and the audience will have something to remember your service/product/brand by.
2. Timing- It's everything. On a slow day, a kitten on a tree will get wall-to-wall coverage. Planing, planning, planning is to news conferences what location, location, location is to real estate. Plan it for a day where there might be a tie-in with another event in the city --without competing with it. Tie it in to a current event or phenomenon.

Sandra Fernandez
Manager, Public Relations at Houston Public Library
The issue of the "obsolete" press conference is the same as that of the "obsolete" press release -- used incorrectly, they are inefficient, but used correctly, they are still viable, useful tools.

Having worked in politics, in crisis situations, I can tell you that there are occasions where the only way to address as many journalists as possible is to have a press conference. Otherwise, we'd have people spending all day giving interviews when their time is essential resolving the situation. (And, yes, I have had an opportunity to hold successful, non-crisis press conferences that didn't involve politics.)

If you're trying to manufacture news, then it's not going to work. This holds true for a press conference, a press release, a pitch or whatever other tools you're trying to use.

Ashutosh Bhattacharya
Passionate public relations professional, Freelance writer, Livewire, Social media expert
They haven't yet in a lot of parts of the world - but yup! one thing is clear they are certainly heading towards extinction with the wired world becoming smaller and smaller.
Mirek mirpo POLYNIAK
INDEPENDENT e-Strategist, e-Consultant; OPEN4net's owner
I think that for some very important/prestigeous news it is important to have a real press conference - esp. that you can give some 'gadgets' to the press

But I think more often you can organise it virtually - saves time, costs and is effective

Mary Fletcher Jones
Creative Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations
Yes
Drew Smith
Communications Specialist at Memphis Zoo
As an Assignment Editor, it's all in who's at the press conference. There have been several times that we've gone and covered an event as an easy vosot (side story) so we can get a soundbyte on a different story.

Example: the local hospital holding a press conference on a new piece of x-ray equipment (something we'd probably pass on given current resources) gets covered because we've been told the mayor (who's in delicate negotiations with the police union) will be there. The crew on the police negotations story swings by to try to get the mayor, and picks up a vosot on the event just to fill out the newscast.
Christian Mahne
Head, Lansons Live at Lansons Communications
Press conferences have had to become "media" conferences to reflect the diversified nature of the new communication channels they have to cater for. They are not obsolete but just bear in mind that you now have to assemble collateral to cater for the needs of the written press, broadcast media and online outlets where once it was just hacks with shorthand pads you had to prepare for. At Lansons we have developed "Social Media Press Releases" for clients which contain all the sound and vision building blocks to enhance the coverage footprint of a given event across new and traditional media in one go. This "something for everyone" approach is increasingly important as journalists have to prepare then same story for multiple distribution outlets.

Mike Duffey
Director of Media Relations at Hinson Ltd
I would describe press conferences as akin to having friends over for dinner. Would you instead invite your friends to share a lovely evening together on the Internet? I don't think so.

There is still, and probably always will be, value in "high touch" relationships with media. It is important to remember that half of the reason to hold them is relationship building, not just information dissemination.

Given the time constraints of modern media, I do think you have to consider the newsworthiness of what you are announcing and save these special events for special news.

But in a nutshell, yes, press conferences still have value.

Now, I make no assumptions about the cultural/professional differences between the US and other nations. I'll leave that to the other experts who responded to your question.

nicole schuman
Marketing Communications Strategist at VoIP Supply/Sayers Technology Holdings
personally, i think pr is more about personal relations and press conferences where you can see hear and feel everything going on in the room tells a hell of a lot more than communicating online. communicating online is a key element in this day and age, and one not to be ignored, but face to face connection brings it all the more alive for the press and client involved.
Danny Chung
Commanding Officer Marine Detachment Defense Information School
Press Conferences aren't becoming obsolete - the people they place in front of the microphone and the dry information they pass on are obsolete. With today's necessity for video and imagery, it's vital to have a talking head do the speaking, but it must be engaging. So many times we have talking heads reading off a script with nothing more than a monotone head of hair for imagery. Press conferences are our time to shine - to engage the audience and tell OUR story.

Robert L. Flott
President & CEO/Principal, Flottsom Communications Inc.
As a part-time event planner, I still conduct press releases. I find them a valuable way to bring the media together, especially in medium to small sized markets. If you have two TV news crews battling to see who brings the news first locally (ratings, ratings, ratings), then a press conferences can bring you attention.

As a newspaper editor and publisher, I attend every press conference to which I am invited. Often, this is the opportunity to get interview time with leading officials, politicians, etc.
Traci Failla
PR & Marketing Communications Consultant
Press conferences -- because of the resources (time and money) required to make them happen -- should be used when it is the best way for media and other audiences to receive the story. And, in the event that you run into a highly competitive news day, you should have a back-up plan for reaching the media you expected to attend and for reassuring your client when you end up with a lackluster event.

I used to manage a multi-national team for a major PR firm, and in some countries, press conferences were a basic, go-to tactic for generating media coverage. In general, in the U.S., we don't use them as much.

Jeannie McLaughlin
International Marketing & Public Relations Firm
Face-to-face press conferences are still relevant today. They are a great means to disseminate information to the media, who in turn distributes information to various forums and to those that may not have the opportunity to receive the information by other means.

Also, these interviews put a "face" to the story and people tend to relate better, faster and assimilate the information to memory through this means.

Michele Peck
You can find me at Point A Media
Press conferences are important in micropolitan communities; they are a way to generate buzz, promote networking and give local media an opportunity to cover something other than high school sports.

Neil Smith
Territory Manager at Caterpillar Inc
Let's be honest people, the commercial press conference has been obsolete for years and probably never really delivered in the first place!
Trade press will publicise your stories in almost direct relation to the amount of advertising you buy.
If you have an interesting story, put in on your website - most journalists are under so much time pressure to deliver material these days that they cannot afford time away from their internet browsing for stories to leave the office!

Rikard Scoufias
International PR & Communications professional
If the expectation is that the press conference is only a means to talking “at” journalists ,providing information accessible elsewhere, then I don’t think there will be a stampede of journalists trying to get there, no.

If, on the other hand, information is newsworthy but in short supply, or rapidly evolving such as in a crisis situation, then the chairs will be filled – not least since you cannot challenge an written statement.

And of course – journalists are a lot more likely to get a good gaffe (which can make a story of its own) by a stressed out punch-bag at a press conference: be it a CEO causing a major hit on the company’s value when answering how the company could sell a product at such low prices with “because it's total crap"... or a clothing firm’s brand director identifying the chain’s target market as "hooligans or whatever", only to go on and say that "few of our customers have to wear suits for work. They'll [the suits] be for his first interview or first court case."

Little historic gems that would hardly have found their way into written statements! with the odd ‘brain-lapse-email’ being the exception confirming the rule of course...

Kristin Gallucci
VP, Corporate Development & PR at Fiore Associates, a Marketing/Branding/PR firm
Hi Volodymyr,

I have to agree with Philipe, it depends on the country and the culture. In the US press conferences are almost non-existent (except for at trade shows). I think quarterly press days are more effective and if it's hard/timely news than wires are the way to go.

Hope this helps.

Kristin

Eric Villines
Public Relations & Communications Professional
I think the answer to that is whether you are in Europe or the United States, or whether we are talking physical or online press conferences (e.g., web-based conference). In Europe, where things are often more conservative, press conferences are still a very valuable way of disseminating information to the “European Market” which doesn’t begin and end in English speaking countries. You are speaking to a broad group of media. In the United States, I think it depends on who you are and what you are announcing. Media don’t like their time wasted – so if you are going to do a press conference, you better be a big enough brand to generate a crowd, and then actually fulfill your promise and give them some real news. On June 9, Steve Jobs will announce/unveil the new iPhone. That’s big news. It will draw a crowd, and presumably provide some key fodder to feed the Apple mania. A great alternative to press conferences is the deskside briefing, where you go to meet key media one-on-one and provide the “big news” in advance and under NDA. Key media appreciate a visit by a top executive to their offices and appreciate being given the opportunity to get the information before it officially comes out.

Brent Skinner
public relations and marketing writer for Web 2.0, recruiting industry research
It depends.

If you're conducting news media relations, then the answer is probably no. But the press is much more disparate these days, and has a wealth of resources online to mine for information.

How does somebody combat these trends if he or she is hell-bent on holding a press conference? A press webinar might be worth looking into as an example of the next generation of press conferences, the kind that will command journalists' attention and draw their attendance.

But we also know that the Internet has slowly but surely enabled PR professionals to conduct true relations directly with all their publics (i.e., constituencies), rather than rely solely or largely on the news media's graces in order to reach all the other constituencies.

And here, we get into a much broader issue, and that is not the obsolescence of the press conference, but the obsolescence of the press in its traditional form as the primary constituency commanding PR professionals' attention.

Pashen Black
Social Media Enthusiast, Blogger & Pure Genius
Over the years, I've seen less and less news conferences being used to reach audiences. With the increase of bloggers and news being posted to Web sites in nanoseconds, Web casts, podcasts, and RSS feeds, among other social media, appear to be taking a leading role in getting information out.

Megan Spees
News Intern at The Hawk Eye, Student at Oral Roberts University
Although I'm afraid press conferences are becoming a thing of the past, I just attended one yesterday and I prefer getting details straight from the source instead of being just another recipient on an e-mail list. As a reporter I feel more comfortable being able to talk to someone face-to-face so I can make sure I'm picking up on everything (including non-verbal communication).
I love my blog, e-mail, chat, etc., but I sometimes think new media technology makes newsgathering more complicated than it needs to be.

SathishIsaac
Nope, journos give more prominence to press conference rather than a fax release, one on one interaction gives a journalist a closer picture on the talk points rendered by the client and these interactions will give more millage to the client.


Leo Exter
Director at Trimedia Communications
It varies from country to country (a lot) and from client to client (a bit), but in Belgium we generally recommend to go for one-on-one meetings with the press instead. It is a trend that has been getting stronger the past few years, and there are - by and large - only two exceptions:
- subject is phenomenally newsworthy (and relevant) indeed
- there's a proper celebrity at hand

As for national differences across Europe: in Italy press conferences (in my experience) seemed to work rather well, in Spain too. France is a bit of a mixed bag, but there a press meeting (rather than a press conference) is a good way to hang out with the several dozen core jounralists that cover your industry. Usually a struggle to get results from a press conference in BE, NL, UK, and hopeless to even get one together in Scandinavia.

Laura Marshall
Senior Manager, External Relations at Lumetra
Press conferences, as Bruce says here, are (in the U.S., at least) really only useful tools in the event that the news you have to impart is definitely going to be of interest to a very large number of media outlets, as in a crisis (Chinese earthquake, for example) or major announcement (Steve Jobs of Apple quits and names George Bush his successor).

Go online. I've used webcasts quite a few times as media "events," and you're more likely to get reporters to "attend" them, since they can be archived and viewed later, and accuracy improves because they can be re-viewed a second or third time to double-check what someone said.

Gail B. Kent, ABC
Managing Director, The Buzz Factory
Yes. I was a reporter 30 years ago, and press conferences were close to obsolete then. Reporters do not want "canned" news and quotes -- they want "fresh" quotes from knowledgeable sources. Press conferences are tools to manage the news from the organization's perspective -- and as a PR pro, that is certainly desireable, but from the reporter's perspective, it is the kiss of death. It means that everyone gets the same info at the same time, which is the opposite of what reporters want. An aggressive reporter will forego the press conference and dig for their own stuff. It is much better from the PR pro's perspective to send a news alert, then make yourself (or your CEO or client) available for one-on-one interviews. That's what reporters want. The only exception to this is when reporters are clammoring for info, such as in a crisis situation, and they'll take anything you give them.

Dave Faggard
Public Affairs Officer at US Air Force
I've held three pressers (pharma, defense, mental health) at the National Press Club in DC in the past eight months and every time reporters and editors urged us to hold virtual conferences so that they could file the story faster, not have to fight traffic and could spend time/resources on other events. Each conference was attended by national and DC reporters, but it leads me to believe times are changing.

Mike Crisp
Independent Public Relations and Communications Professional
I recommended and helped a client conduct a major press conference last week at an industry trade show – the first I’ve done in several years. I can say with confidence that the press conference was the only effective option we had for the news we were delivering and audiences we were speaking to. Multiple interviews would not have been an effective use of company executives’ time and would not have communicated the excitement or scale of the announcement.

Regarding your comments about virtual communication – I believe it is online communication tactics (electronic news releases, virtual press tours, Webinars, etc.) that are starting to lose their effectiveness – due to the overwhelming amount of information delivered daily (hourly!) via newswire services and Web sites. It’s too much for media (or anyone else) to disseminate – and most of what is distributed is, frankly, not news. The same can be said of email – it’s too easy for PR people to spam a 100 (or more) editors at a time with a news release, a practice that appears to be more and more common.

Because of the crowded PR landscape online, I believe it is nearly impossible for a company to make a major announcement successfully using only Internet-based communication. The Internet as a communication tool, while useful, should rarely be your primary method of delivering information. In most cases, it should be used to support your message and offer a way for journalists to dive deeper into the news. Traditional PR tactics, such as press conferences, two-way relationships with key editors (in which the editorial agenda is given as much weight as the corporate one), etc, are making a comeback and will continue to be the most effective PR tools into the foreseeable future.

Companies have to decide if they want to be just another voice in the din of the Internet or if they want to stand out from the crowd as a true voice in their industry.

That said, press conferences should be reserved for major announcements or when conducting dozens of interviews isn’t feasible (e.g., a major industry tradeshow where most editorial agendas are the same - to cover the show). Otherwise, you are wasting your executives’ and journalists’ time.

Bill Byrne
Lead Strategist, BBPR - Targeted Lifestyle Communications
If you have strong news to announce (and often we don't), where a Q&A following an announcement is worth wile, the press conference is still a viable option.
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Ну і для тих, хто спромігся дочитати цей роман до кінця, невеличкий LinkedIn hack ))). Якщо ви хочете, щоб якомога більше людей побачило ваше запитання, раз на декілька днів продовжуйте термін дії (зараз максимальний - 7 днів). Щоразу після цього питання знову з'являтиметься на першій сторінці LinkedIn серед "featured questions".

4 коммент.:

UA Releases at 12 липня 2008 р. о 18:40 сказав...

Честно говоря, выражение "профессионалы всего мира" ну вообще не применимо к некоторым из вышеперечисленных персон.

Володимир Дегтярьов at 14 липня 2008 р. о 08:42 сказав...

ua-releases, по-перше, "професіонали ЗІ всього світу".
А по-друге, замість неконструктивної критики ) краще скажіть - що ви думаєте про прес-конференції в "телекомі"?

Fedir Logvynenko at 14 липня 2008 р. о 18:57 сказав...

"роман" дочитал : )
вывод двумя словами - it depends
порадовала разница мнений журналистов и пиарщиков : )
интересно было бы услышать побольше мнений украинских журналистов

Алексей (rewritoff) at 21 липня 2008 р. о 16:37 сказав...

Number and QUALITY of the following publications are different