Journalists Have Spoken: Your Corporate Newsroom SucksBy Joe Witte

Somewhere along the line, maybe because of all our Twitter distractions, we forgot the basics of corporate communications.

The golden rule, “treat others as you would want to be treated” needs to be applied to all of our relationships, including media contacts.

Although some of our journalist friends can get a little snarky in their emails, most are pretty good people and would appreciate some basic considerations.

And, when ISEBOX ran a survey asking them what they think of corporate websites, the responses weren’t too glowing.

A paltry six percent stated digital newsrooms met their expectations.

Oh boy.

But, there is some redeeming news.

Many of their gripes are pretty simple to fix.

(And some require us to “grow up” and adopt 2016 technology.)

So, lets dispel the first notion that journalists don’t visit your website.

ISEBOX Survey Findings 

In fact, the poll stated that 41 percent do visit company websites daily, and 95 percent go there at least once a month.

So, yes, your digital newsroom matters.

In fact, 80 percent stated they’d visit your newsroom more frequently if it wasn’t so sucky.

So, what were the biggest issues and how can you fix them (and accommodate the people who are going to make us famous)?

First, make yourself easy to reach.

Yes, I know this is a novel concept.

But, put a proper phone number, name, and email address on your website.

Not a contact form.

And when they call or email, get back to them quickly.

In customer support terms, that means minutes, not days.

We can do that, right?

Next on the list of relatively easy to do, is to keep your content and news current.

How embarrassing is it for you and your company if a journalist comes to get the latest “news” and the only thing they can find is that Company X hired a COO in 2005.

And remember, prospective customers are looking as well.

Outdated news tells customers you haven’t done anything newsworthy, which is hurtful to your brand.

Some other easy to fix solutions include:

  • Have an accessible company fact sheet
  • Avoid passwords that require media to access content
  • Deliver country specific content
  • Provide short, to-the-point releases with solid quotes

More Features for Your Newsroom

So what are some the features journalists want that are a little tougher to deliver?

Provide a seamless experience so they can easily view and download photos, videos, and documents.

While this may sound easy, proper cloud technologies that have a content management system and a platform that allow for easy downloading are pretty rare, and usually requires you to integrate a proper digital media center.

The other feature—not that surprising because we live in a Google world—is to have a robust search solution.

Our generation is impatient, and wants everything “now.”

Having that search feature solves this conundrum.

Type “search” and answer is provided.


Again, sounds easy, but this will take some custom coding from your development team, or a more advanced digital media center.

Somewhat surprising was that journalists listed “social media tools” as one of the least important requirements.

They really just need your social handles and can be on their merry way.

And 69 percent of respondents also stated they rarely or never subscribe to company newsletters.

So the good news is the rest of the PR world is going to make it easy for you to shine.

Just update your copy, and if you can convince your boss to fork out $700/month for a proper digital newsroom, you’ll practically be propelled to the public relations Mt. Rushmore.

image credit: shutterstock

Joe Witte

Joe is a 15-year tech entrepreneur with 10 years of military experience. He started his career at DoubleClick, generating $2mm in annual revenues. Joe has started three $1mm+ businesses and is currently the VP of Global Business Development at ISEBOX. Joe is on the advisory board for multiple start-ups and the program director for Bunker Labs. Mr. Witte is a former Captain in the Army and Army Commendation Medal recipient. He is a Penn State University grad, happy husband and proud father of 5.

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