Two Tools to Spread the Word For Your Good Cause

Pop quiz: What are the top two news outlets on the Internet today? Well, according to the web traffic monitoring service Comscore, they are Yahoo! News and Google News. Traditional news sites like CNN.com and various New York Times properties come in a distant third – and lower.

That’s right – the top two news sites on the Internet don’t employ a single reporter. They simply collect stories and press releases from around the Internet and make it easy to scan or search them.

That’s a sign of how much the news media is changing. And if you want to raise environmental awareness, advance gay rights, challenge racism, or promote any other good cause, then you’ve got to adapt to the new rules of the news media.

The old way of using PR to raise environmental awareness or promote some other cause was to make a list of reporters who covered your issue. Then, when you had a hot story, you’d write a press release, send it to the list, and then call them to make sure they received it. But that’s not good enough anymore.

Here’s why: Newspapers and TV news operations are downsizing. The reporters who are left are younger, less experienced, and spread thinner than in the “good old days.” Meanwhile, blogs, e-mail newsletters, online magazines, and other niche publications are multiplying so fast that nobody can keep track of them all.

Put these two trends together, and here’s what you get – not enough big fish and way too many small fish to work with a simple list of reporters. Here are two tools that you can use to promote your cause to thousands of journalists, instead of just a handful:

Press Release Distribution Service. Using these services is a good way to offer your news to thousands of blogs, email newsletters, and small outlets, which can add up to a lot of attention. You paste your press release into a form, and they put your story directly into Google News and Yahoo! News, so it’s out there whether any reporter writes about it or not.

There are dozens of these services. Some are free. Some are cheap. And some are expensive. Try two free ones to get the hang of it: http://www.pr.com or http://www.prlog.com.

These services all promise to send your press release into newsrooms around the world, and maybe they do. But if you want to see your story in some particular newspaper or magazine, you should still send it directly to a reporter at that newspaper or magazine — and follow up with a phone call. That’s where the next type of service comes in.

Press Release Database Service. These services track which reporters cover what issues at what media outlet and compile the information in a database. You can search for reporters by location, outlets, or topics, and then pull up their phone numbers or send emails right out of the system.

The established services include Bacon’s and Vocus, and the upstart MyPRGenie is challenging them on price. Don’t expect miracles here – layoffs are sweeping through the news industry, and it’s hard for these services to get it 100% right. But it would be even harder for you to keep track of those comings and goings yourself.

To sum it up, the news media is going high tech. If you want to raise environmental awareness or promote some other good cause, you’ve got to go high tech, too. Good luck!

An Overview of Digital Journalism

Digital journalism is about the news created through the means of digital media. It is gradually being integrated into broadcast journalism and traditional print. Nowadays, a lot of newspapers publish their own online version, and several television stations have their own interactive sites that provide news headlines, podcasts, complete stories, plus a wide range of features. More and more people are relying on the news offered on the Internet. This is why this form of journalism, which continues to grow each day, has a negative effect on some forms of traditional media, like the standard print media.

Digital journalism is not only offered by reputable and respected news sources, but also by individuals, as well as groups with a distinct slant. In fact, online users navigate to many websites, depending on what can be printed. Given that any person that has an Internet connection can actually write or publish his/her own news story, the thought of hiding or leaving any piece of information behind is no longer possible. Whatever a person says or does can now be captured by means of a video cam and shown on YouTube, or written on any website. In a way, digital journalism has allowed millions of prospective journalists to get some exposure on the web for free.

Digital journalism news sites that continue to remain traditional in nature pay their staff to write articles, and they are usually regarded as reliable news sources. On the other hand, there are news sites that are not too careful about the news they gather with regards to their truth value. They look at opinions as researched materials. This often results to having some credibility, or can result to a total lack of credibility of these sites. There are, indeed, credible sites that may be linked to or separated from real life newspapers. A regular viewer may not be able to distinguish one from the other, and this can cause a continuous increase in speculations and misinformation.

Digital journalism surfaced in the ’90s, and during this time, it was foreseen that traditional journalism jobs would decline. Now that this prediction has become a reality due to the closure of printing publications and the reduction of newspaper staff, a lot of writers are wondering if they can still get hired as digital journalists. If they have good journalism credentials and impressive communications, they can work for reputable websites, write as freelancers for news sources, or create news blogs and earn an income with the help of advertisement revenues. This may either be rewarding, or not too profitable at all. Contributions are not always paid, even by respected sites, while some websites come with citizen journalist positions. At times, public news commentaries are even integrated into television news.

Since the introduction of high-tech gadgets, it has been easier to create and obtain news, particularly in free press states. Now, you can record events, write a short blog about some news, or exchange emails with news sources by using your smartphone. This just means that anyone can share or provide information/misinformation about what is happening worldwide, and this can be exciting for most people even when they do not earn any income.

How Do You Find Quality Blog Hosting?

Blogging has become a common platform for businesses or individuals to publish content of any kind, whether it’s a family describing their latest outing or a huge corporation announcing a new product or service. In either scenario, the blog hosting provider is a crucial component to consistently and continuously deliver that content.

Blog hosting is often a portion of a normal web hosting service, though a quality provider will often offer extra software or features to make blogging easier and more reliable. No matter who your audience is – a few extended family members or the entire customer base – you need to know that you can quickly post new articles, and that your readers will have instant access.

There are a number of qualifiers you need to examine when you choose a blog hosting company, including the usability and reliability, the tech support they offer, and how much value you are really going to get for your money. Make sure that the company has everything you need to run a successful blog, or you may find yourself spending more time on maintenance than blogging.

The first thing you should check is the software that the company offers. Most blogging software requires that PHP, MySQL, and Apache are installed on the server, and you should make sure that the blog hosting company has updated versions of all these programs. If they don’t stay up-to-date with current versions of the software, they may be susceptible to malicious attacks or viruses.

You should also consider the blogging software that the company offers. Do they make it easy to install your choice of software or do you have to jump through unnecessary hoops to get things done? Do they offer a range of software to choose from, or are you forced to use a single blogging application?

Some of the popular blogging software on the market includes Word Press, b2evolution, and Nucleus. Though Word Press is the most popular, with thousands and thousands of sites based on its software, users may find that a different program may better suit their needs. Make sure that the blog hosting company can accommodate your choice in software.

Different blog hosting companies may also offer different levels of control over the look and design of the blog. Before signing on with the service provider you should be certain that you will have the necessary control over the features and look of your blog. This includes the ability to use your own domain name rather than one tied to another brand name.

Blogging has become more than just a phenomenon of the digital age. Everyone from huge corporations to news agencies to single individuals use the format to publish content and open communication channels with others. Quality blog hosting companies will help you get online and offer the support you need to stay there.