Since November 30, 1971.

The truth about online news

This article was originally published in 2013.

We hear so much about the imminent death of traditional media. Newspapers being replaced by online sites and TV reporters overtaken by so called video journalists. But I’m urging people, don’t be so quick to happily bang that final nail into the coffin and immediately jump ship to online sites. By far the best results for businesses are seen when they’re featured in a print article in a daily or a TV story during a 6pm bulletin.

The height of return is when a client is featured on A Current Affair or Today Tonight simply because of the immediate response. The majority of Australians are sitting in front of the TV with their Macs on their lap, ready and waiting to punch whatever takes their fancy into Google within 1.5 seconds of it going to air.

Happiness levels from businesses are also much higher when we kick these traditional media goals. What makes someone feel better than being inundated with their mates calling to say ‘You’re famous, I saw you on TV’ or countless tags on Facebook because their picture features in The Age on a Monday morning?

I’m not saying forget the online space altogether, let's be honest - it cannot be ignored. Something we hear 10 times a day! But all this hype around digital saturation and online news sites just isn’t warranted. It doesn’t have the same clout as a feature piece in a national newspaper. There is something about the fickle nature of these sites, they fail to ooze any authority.

Online news is mostly read by people sitting at their desks procrastinating or just wanting to get a quick news hit ensuring they stay in touch with the rest of the nation during their marathon working week.

Online stories do play an important role but it’s when they to sit along side traditional media. They’re for people who didn’t get time to read the paper this morning because they’re first meeting was at 7.30am and so they did a quick scroll on the iphone or those who simply aren’t terribly interested in what’s going on around them.

They’re also great drivers to a website, if there is something interesting being sold. A hyperlink is like PR magic. But beware, these are never guaranteed. It is at the end of the day, still editorial.

I, like many members of the media refuse to believe the death of the traditional newspapers is near. They hold too much influence, too much credibility. Not necessarily always because of the ‘facts’ but because of their daily tradition. And anyone who knows a good story knows it’s best read in black and white.

By Alicia Hall, Project PR & Media Managing Director.

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