Pr fake news infodemic

“We are not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus and is just as dangerous.” – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, 15/03/20

Practicing responsible and effective PR in the midst of a fake news ‘infodemic’ gives a whole new meaning to that well-worn industry phrase ‘going viral’.

After all, achieving virality, in the sense of delivering must-share news and content across readers and viewers’ social networks, has been, for the best part of the last twenty years, the Holy Grail of the PR industry.

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Recently, Reuters discovered that Google quietly changed its algorithm to increase the prevalence of press releases in Google News search results, which presents a tremendous opportunity for organizations to more widely raise awareness for their news.

Less than a year ago, Google’s Panda 4.0 update devalued press releases as a SEO tactic, in response to far too many companies distributing press releases with zero news value to boost search rankings. As a consequence of rooting out spammy content, legitimate announcements were unfairly penalized, and the traffic to most of the major wire services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire etc., dropped almost overnight.

However, despite numerous bad apples trying to game their site’s search engine optimisation, businesses have continued to utilize press releases for their original purpose, to publicly share important information that their target audiences, stakeholders and industry influencers will care about. Read more

Christian Science Monitor

Cybersecurity Publication, Passcode The Christian Science Monitor recently launched its new publication, Passcode, which will cover digital security and privacy in today’s hectic technology age. Thanks to the Publicity Club of New England, the March Communications team had the opportunity to meet with members of the Passcode editorial team on a snowy February night here in Boston, where we got a glimpse into their backgrounds, interests, and vision for the publication.

Some of Passcode’s new editorial team have been writing for the Christian Science Monitor for years. After seeing an uptick in stories on cybersecurity, breaches, and digital privacy, largely covered by trade and business press, they realized the opportunities in that space. Thus, Passcode was born, right here in Boston. Read more

This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Serial could usher in a new wave of podcasts and audio content.

Today marks the conclusion of Serial, the podcast that is making waves around the world as it combs through evidence surrounding the 1999 case of Adnan Syed and his potentially wrongful murder conviction. (Don’t worry, no spoilers here!)

For listeners, like me, who have been following along for all 12 episodes, it’ll come as no surprise just how popular the podcast is… Apple reports Serial as the fastest podcast ever to reach five million downloads, averaging 1.26 million downloads per episode, according to the Wall Street Journal. But, beyond its sheer popularity, is Serial transforming journalism as we know it? Will PR pros soon be pitching a series of contributed audio spots instead of multi-part written bylines or guest blog posts? Read more

This post was first published by James Gerber on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Far too often, companies believe that they are entitled to media coverage. Even when no message seems to be resonating, executives often try to find undeniable reasons why they should be receiving regular pieces of coverage in the highest tier outlets – places like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg TV or even new school outlets like Mashable.

Maybe your company makes a supremely cool product. After all, if your product is innovative and has features that the market hasn’t seen before, the media will surely be interested, right? Maybe you regularly speak in front of audiences in the hundreds or perhaps even thousands. That would seem to be worthy of being covered in the press. Your products or business could have won prestigious awards. You may have had a great piece of press coverage early on or you have $X million (or billion) in revenues. So why is it so hard now? Read more

This post was first published by Juliana Allen on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Open source journalism gathers information from around the world.The “Power of Many” is a business concept that has translated well to other industries, and with good results. By using the power of the public, police have been able to gather valuable tips and evidence about suspected rioters, while parents have sourced creative names for their new-borns.

Crowdsourcing is proof that “more is better.” And given that information is gold to journalists, it shouldn’t be a surprise that so called “open source journalism” has been on the rise. Citizen journalists all over the world are just one-tweeted-picture-of-a-car-accident away from contributing to the lead story on the evening news.

Just as crowdfunding solicits money from a range of supporters to get a startup off the ground, open source journalism is all about anyone other than professional journalists contributing to the news and it usually sourced in a community-like online forum. Read more

This post was first published by Duncan McKean on the CCgroup blog.

Regulation being what it is, Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, has made a number of statements in the recent past about how she would like to shake up the European mobile telecoms market. Championing consumer rights and calling on industry participants to be more altruistic, her arguments use a lot of data and statistics to make her points. Read more


In the world of tech PR, the summer months bring a small respite between the tradeshow-crazed spring and fall. This gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the positives and negatives of the many briefings we facilitated either on-site or by phone between our clients and the journalists and analysts who interview them.

In taking a look back and chatting internally with colleagues, one thing is clear: there’s a strong distinction in poise and delivery between those executives who have received specialized media training and those who haven’t. And with good reason: like public speaking, media briefings put spokespeople at the center of attention, which isn’t exactly a natural state of being.

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This post was first published by Megan Grobert on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Last Monday, my colleague, Marcus LaRobardiere, and I attended the Pub Club’s Technology PR panel discussion, hosted by PAN Communications.

The panelists discussed trends that influence coverage, what classifies as actually newsworthy, what reporters want and need, and the best way to approach and pitch a reporter.

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Telecommunications, Help, Support, Advice

When PR firms are sending out a pitch, it’s important to tell a compelling story and know the best times to send a pitch, but you also need to make sure your pitches are relevant to the influencers and audience you want to reach. Not every byline written or piece of news issued will be appropriate for every journalist or publication. And if you don’t pitch the right person, journalists and bloggers aren’t afraid to call you out for your mistakes. Here are three ways to ensure a meaningful, targeted approach to influencer relations. Read more