The news release is not dead. So said the panelists brought together by CNW on the topic of “State of the Media 2014.” The speakers on October 3 in Toronto were Simon Houpt of the Globe and Mail, Amanda Lang of CBC News, Edward Keenan of the Toronto Star and moderator Steve Ladurantaye of Twitter Canada.

I’ve captured the essence of the discussion in the Storify below, but here are my own key takeaways:

  • Most journalists do not want you to call them. Email instead. Several on the panel said they never listen to voicemails; the red light on the phone flashes forever.
  • Speaking of email, never ever put “re” in the subject line of an email to fake a previous exchange. Simon Houpt in particular will hate you forever!
  • Do personalize your email with a “Dear …” salutation, but be sure you get the name right!
  • The media wants you to provide voices who can give context to stories. According to Amanda Lang: “If information helps give us context, it’s important. Maybe not today but in the future.”
  • Personal relationships between journalists and PR people are more important than ever.
  • Amanda Lang said the news release is still effective today if the news is important. “We still rely on wires in the newsroom,” she said. Simon Houpt agreed that “stuff on the wire carries more weight than a news release on your corporate website.”

CNW says they will be publishing a video of this panel, so watch their website.


  1. Great recap from this event. I can’t state how important the first point was about never calling a journalist. It’s often when you’re in the field or at conducting an interview when your cell phone rings and you have someone trying to pitch you (insert event/product here), only to just ask that they e-mail you instead.


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