NewzEngine Newsletter: It would not be appropriate in an office to shout at the person next to you, and it would be ineffective to whisper when you’re on stage taking part in a panel discussion. When sending an email, ‘all caps’ are only to be used in extreme circumstances and using a smiley-faced emoji at the end of a sentence in which you’ve criticised the recipient is passive aggressive
The etiquette of office life is generally well understood, but what about when communicating with journalists via a media release, what’s the etiquette for that? Here are a couple of quick thoughts.
While there are no hard and fast rules, in generally it’s best to avoid jargon. Journalists are usually people who got into the profession because they love words, so try to avoid phrases that are overused and bit cringeworthy. The first time someone talked about “going forward” was probably OK, but it’s safe to presume this term has now been overused. Ditto “best in breed”, “window of opportunity”… anyway, you get the point.
The second is to think about the journalist’s audience. It’s kind of insulting if you don’t. You want them to take an interest in what’s happening in your world, so you should probably think a little bit about theirs.
At NewzEngine we have split our media distribution lists into sections for this very reason. There as 11 regional locations as well as ‘National news’ and 12 sectors to choose from, as well as Māori media. Users can tick more than one box. For example, if your media release is about a tech event in Palmerston North taking place on a marae, it would be entirely appropriate to tick ‘Manawatu’, ‘Technology’ and ‘Māori media’. If it was focussed on health applications and featured entrepreneurs in the speaking line-up then ‘business’ and ‘health’ would also be good boxes to tick.
NewzEngine also enables ‘All NZ locations’ and ‘All Sectors’. These buttons should be ticked only in rare circumstances. They are like the equivalent of a megaphone at the office. Reserved for very big news. Before ticking those boxes, you need to ask yourself, is my news of interest to everyone from the reporter covering the environment round to the food editor? If not, then best leave those buttons alone.