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Should Online Newsrooms be Designed for Journalists or Everyone?

It’s time to streamline your online newsroom, according to Former CBS News correspondent David Henderson. But exactly who should you be streamlining it for?

Above is the online newsroom for UCLA, which my company iPressroom built and hosts. To keep it up to date, a staff led by Kevin Roderick gets news from PIOs at the 14 different colleges, prioritizes which ones will be published to which columns and keeps the newsroom fresh daily.

I interviewed online usability expert Jakob Nielsen about best practices for online newsrooms almost three years ago, and while he disagrees with Henderson about what you should call your online newsroom (14:58 “…people really know what you mean when you say pressroom), his insights about:

  • Online reputation management
  • Correlation between online user experience and brand perception, and
  • Common mistakes organizations make when launching an internet pressroom…
…are as true today as they were when he spoke them.

I travel around regularly teaching New Media PR Boot Camps to PR, marketing and corporate communications professionals looking to come up to speed on online communications and always remind my attendees that while blogs, podcasts, RSS, Twitter and social networks get all the attention, the online newsroom is the center point of organizational communications, online or off.

Just as you wouldn’t invite someone over to your house without cleaning up first, if you’re going to participate in online conversations, you need to get your website in order first.

At iPressroom, which specializes in building online newsrooms that can be managed by nontechnical personnel, we’ve built a number of newsrooms like this one, this one, and this one that are not just effective online media relations resources, but which go a step further by showcasing company news in a way that works for the public as well as the press.

Let’s face it, the print news media business is fighting for its survival, Apple has nearly check mated the music business with access and ease-of-use, and with more than 12 billion videos being viewed monthly online, TV news is probably next.

Organizations can no longer rely on the news media to tell their stories. And as the fourth estate continues to wane, forward thinking organizations are realizing that they need to tell their stories in way that is not just factual and informative, but interesting and entertaining as well.

If you’d like to listen to other interviews about best practices for online newsrooms, these ones may be of interest:

What do you think? Should online newsrooms be built primarily for journalists, or do they need to work for everyone? Send me a link to your online newsroom and let me know.

Or tweet me @ericschwartzman.

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