Did you know the press release turned 100 years old this past weekend?

According to Greg Jarboe, co-founder of the tech publicity firm SEO-PR, the press release was born on October 28, 1906, as described in a blog entry.

On October 28, 1906, at least 50 people lost their lives when a three-car train of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s newly equipped electric service jumped a trestle at Atlantic City, N.J., and plunged into the Thoroughfare creek. That afternoon, Ivy Lee, who some consider to be the father of modern PR, created the first press release. The Pennsylvania Railroad was one of his clients. Following the accident, Lee not only convinced the railroad to distribute a public statement, he also convinced them to provide a special train to get reporters to the scene of the accident. The New York Times was so impressed with this innovative approach to corporate communications that it printed the first press release verbatim on Oct. 30, 1906 as a ‘Statement from the Road.’

It’s interesting how far the release, and our profession, have come since then.  For instance, with the birth of computers, the name changed from “press release” to “news release”.  And now our profession is changing with technology and the trendy tools are word-of-mouth and social media relations.

Shift Communications is a “no hype” public relations firm with offices in Boston and San Francisco.  They have published a white paper about PR 2.0, which includes social media relations.  Here at Arment Dietrich, we think they’re pretty freaking smart and think you should check them out, if you haven’t already.

Maybe 100 years from now, Shift will be referenced changing the news release as we once knew it.