Increasingly, news is distributed and picked up online. With the growing reputation of Blogs and other online content with a news focus, there has been some speculation about the future of press releases. Are they on the way out?

Press releases, in the ‘old days’, were sent out in hard copy to news officers who shuffled through them, searching for newsworthy content to write about or develop into a good story.

With the internet came email and inevitably press releases were sent out via email. Then came online news rooms, and along with these came press release distribution networks and the need to ‘optimise’ press releases for search engines.

Many people now get their ‘news’ (though I use this term loosely) from social media websites. This is mostly blog posts submitted and commented on by users and bloggers. Are people therefore writing their own news? Is this more relevant to the general public? Where does news actually come from? philosophical questions indeed. But what does this mean for press releases?

There can be no doubt, I think, that most people still want news from trusted media sources. Press releases remain the backbone for these media sources – though, to be perfectly correct, you might want to call them ‘media releases’ or ‘news releases’, as many media sources are not press.

Press releases also remain the central component of PR campaigns. Though there are many other avenues opening up all the time for public relations, the importance of the press release can not be ignored.

I have serious doubts that blogs will replace press releases. They are just not the same thing. They are written very differently, for one thing. Also, a press release carries an authority that a blog just doesn’t have. I would recommend, however, taking advantage of both these mediums, as they both have their strengths.

So where does news come from? From you, in part – If you blog or send out press releases you are participating in something bigger. Good for you. Good for your company.