Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yup, I wrote it...

Back in the Dark Ages, otherwise known as the beginning of my journalism career (the 80s and 90s), publishing a press release as is was a huge no-no. There were a number of reasons for that -- it could have been poorly written, or not written using Associated Press Style.

Needless to say, they were edited like crazy. In some cases, they were assigned to a reporter to follow up on and turn into a story. With a byline.

In addition to freelance writing, I also handle communications for a local non-profit. I keep the website up to date as well as write press releases and provide other media information.

Imagine my surprise when I saw my press release published in my local newspaper in Jackson, Michigan...with a byline attached to it. The funny thing is, it wasn't mine! The writing was -- but the byline was that of a stringer for the paper.

Really? No, I didn't want my name on it. That's not the point. But taking credit in the form of a byline for a press release? Yuck.

I realize that the way small town journalism is today means there are probably not as many opportunities like the one I had when this photo at the right was taken -- I witnessed the kidney transplant of a local resident -- one I had interviewed about his journey prior to the organ transplant. I also followed up once he was home.

If the press release byline is the new media, then we're all in trouble.

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