Building a Better Newsroom INSIDE Your Company

When I was a reporter, I was skeptical of any “news” issued by businesses or other organizations. At the time (I’m dating myself here), that “news” was in the form of press releases and the occasional (rehearsed) media interview or press conference.  Even when we did report on company-generated news, we researched the heck out of it to make sure it was objective – and to make sure we identified bias and included other points of view.

Fast forward to today. As a PR professional, I’ve used my skepticism to help organizations develop and deliver newsworthy content.  But it wasn’t until recently that I gained a new found respect for how seriously a growing number of organizations are taking the responsibility of being a respected news source. It happened when a health care client of ours asked us to help them build a world-class news operation.

Courtesy: enterpriseflorida.com

Now this client already had a well-run media relations and consumer news operation, but realized that in today’s competitive and cluttered news environment, it needed to become even more proactive and efficient in leading the discussions around health topics of interest – not just those that involved their own achievements. The challenge was finding an efficient way to involve multiple internal and external communications teams in the process of content planning, creation and delivery.

To help them incorporate the elements of a high-functioning news operation, we researched corporate, health care, and traditional print and broadcast newsrooms, such as GE Healthcare’s The Pulse, Walmart’s News & Views and Procter & Gamble’s corporate newsroom. We also facilitated a 90-minute brainstorm on best practices with a panel of former print and broadcast journalists and thought leaders. In addition, we assessed digital editorial and resource management systems that could help triage, schedule and track content, and help make newsroom operations more efficient. Our research spanned well-known broadcast and print media systems (AVID’s iNEWS and the Associated Press’s ENPS), as well as newer companies’ offerings (Desk-Net’s newsroom management system and ScheduAll’s broadcast and transmission scheduling  solutions).

The resulting report included detailed recommendations and best practices for:

By incorporating newsroom best practices, our client is now delivering on its mission to help lead important (and journalistically sound) health discussions around the world. Its integrated content planning, creation and delivery processes across internal and external communications teams enable them to produce more quality content, more quickly, and to respond to news outside of the organization in a more timely fashion.

This client’s success, along with what we have learned in our research of a growing number of in-house newsrooms across the country – have turned my skepticism into optimism. If it’s done right, adopting a newsroom model provides an excellent opportunity for organizations to expand their news coverage,  position themselves as trusted expert resources, and ultimately increase brand awareness and appreciation.

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