JOURNALISTS have a rum time of it most days trying to extract information from institutions. The pace of news and the influence of the internet has meant that a fair amount of time can be spent monitoring social media for news but ultimately a balance has to be struck. It is fair to say that next to face to face interviews email and telephone calls have been the preferred mode of communication for journalists.
Newsrooms across the UK have always had a generous supply of press releases from institutions such as local councils, government offices and police forces.
A large number of organisations have taken to posting their news on their own newsroom websites and associated social media pages and that now includes Gwent Police who have announced that it will be posting all updates on Facebook and Twitter in future and that any announcements or updates posted out of hours will only be available on Gwent Police’s corporate Facebook page. Journalists will still be able to make enquiries over-the-phone or by email as normal – despite the change in press release policy.
The editor of the Caerphilly Observer Richard Gurner has taken issue with the decision and voiced his concerns.
Speaking to Llanelli Online earlier Richard said: “Email is the primary communication channel for newsrooms. As a journalist you look at your inbox. A lot of stuff comes through on social media and a lot is not relevant. There is a danger you might miss stuff.
Speaking about the danger of missing news due to the enormous amount of content to sift through on social media Richard said: “Gwent Police said they have consulted with other forces. I was taken by surprise. It’s absurd The point of media relations is to get your message out to as wide an audience as possible. I was confused by it. I didn’t understand what they mean. I have put an alert on social media but because they cover a wide area it goes off all the time. I am going to have to make the time to monitor it but as you are aware, time is precious. I cant understand why they have to do that it wouldn’t be much to send it over to us.
Richard said that there are also inconsistencies with messaging from the Gwent force. Some appeals on social media are not replicated on their website.
He concluded by saying: “They have done their analysis on their time spent sending stuff out to the media. It is a time where we should be working closer and better together.”