I was talking to a journalist the other day who was disparaging about a media release he’d received from someone else, because of poor grammar in a couple of spots and careless spelling mistakes. He said it was so bad, he couldn’t use it as he didn’t have confidence in its accuracy.
In many ways, the mistakes he spoke about sounded the same as those sometimes seen in daily newspapers, so the journalist’s complaints about other people’s mistakes and sloppiness could seem to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
However journalists, who deal with words and grammar all the time, have the right to expect that the people who send them information can produce accurate and well-written copy, and will give them the same quality of material that they are expected to produce themselves.
If journalists get an obviously good story, they are always going to want to use it, no matter how badly-presented it is, or whether it is in an inconvenient style. A good story is a good story is a good story.
But not all releases are good stories as far as media interest is concerned.
The real reason that media releases are sent to journalists is to make it as easy as possible for the media to use the information provided.
With the media receiving a lot more announcements every day than are ever going to be used, there are always choices to be made between releases that may have equal interest.
Realistically, where a publication only has room for one story out of several of equal merit, which one is likely to be used? The one that is easy to follow and understand? Or the one that is written badly and is therefore difficult to use?