Canadian Press wants attention

Canadian Press

For some reason, Canada’s biggest news service has decided it needs to “brand” itself. Canadian Press, the nationwide, not-for-profit wire service, is running ads through member organizations such as CTV, Transcontinental, the Toronto Star, Sun Media (Quebecor) and others to “add value for Canadian Press member daily newspapers and media clients by ensuring more of their news consumers recognize The Canadian Press brand as the credible source of Canadian and international content in their papers, newscasts and websites.”

Perhaps I’m missing something about the newspaper industry in Canada, but I honestly don’t understand what the point of this is. Canadian Press is a wire service, and it doesn’t sell anything to the public directly. So who cares if the public is even aware of its existence? And why would media outlets want to publicize the fact that they’re too cheap to hire their own journalists and have to rely on the same wire service their competitors get their news from? It’s like if CJAD ran ads reminding people that its morning news headlines were read straight out of The Gazette.

I know CP is sad about CanWest’s empire pulling out this year, and it’s constantly annoyed by the fact that people refer to it as “Canadian Press” instead of “The Canadian Press”, but this advertising campaign looks like a giant waste of money.

The end of the CP press release also adds that the organization will be “phasing out” the use of (CP) and (PC) for Canadian Press and Presse Canadienne stories, in favour of the wire’s complete name. I find this funny because the wire has little control over how its stories appear in print, online or on the air. Many websites use the full name already, while many print publications use the shortened form to save space (especially on briefs that are only a few lines long to begin with). Whether member organizations comply with this edict remains to be seen.

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