Tag Archives: press releases

Posted in Media

How not to send a press release

I have great respect for people who work in the communications business. Dark Side or not, they are part of the process that gets information (and government propaganda) to the public. And they are often grilled by the media for decisions made by other people.

So I’ll leave out the name of the poor sap who sent out this email. It’s not important, anyway. But hopefully it will serve as a lesson to others on how not to send messages to the media.

The email was about media accreditation for Quebec’s construction inquiry. As you can imagine, the inquiry is getting a lot of media attention, so it makes sense to try to organize that in some way.

The email, whose subject line was blank, said the following on top of signature boilerplate for the commission:

Bonjour à tous

Vous trouverez ci-joint la procédure pour l’accréditation des médias

Attached to the email was a Microsoft Word document of 545 kB. That Word document contained the following, plus contact information:

Avis aux médias

Objet : Accréditation des médias

Montréal, le 24 avril 2012 – La Commission d’enquête sur l’octroi et la gestion des contrats publics dans l’industrie de la construction publie aujourd’hui, sur son site Internet, la procédure ainsi que le formulaire pour obtenir l’accréditation afin d’avoir accès en tant que membre des médias aux locaux soit : salle d’audience, salle de presse et studio pour entrevues.

Sur le site Internet de la Commission, Section salle de presse (www.ceic.qc.ca), vous trouverez la procédure ainsi que le formulaire pour l’accréditation.

Le formulaire ainsi qu’une photo numérique format passeport devront être acheminés à la Commission par courriel à communications@ceic.gouv.qc.ca .

So, to resume:

  • Subject line is blank
  • Text is contained in attached Word document for no good reason
  • Word document is 545 kB, mainly because of useless design features
  • Word document is three paragraphs essentially saying to go to their website
  • Rather than providing a direct link to the page, it gives instructions on where to click to find it
  • Message gets address of website wrong (it’s ceic.gouv.qc.ca, not ceic.qc.ca) – a second email was sent an hour later to correct this

Next time, just say you’ve posted accreditation information on your website and provide a link to said page.

There, I’ve saved you the consulting fee for a communications specialist to spend three hours and a PowerPoint presentation telling you that.

Posted in Technology

Rogers follows the leaders

Hey, remember last year when Bell and Telus said they were going to start charging for incoming text messages (in addition to outgoing text messages), and Rogers countered that they had “no plans” to do the same, especially because that move encouraged people to switch to Rogers?

Apparently plans take less than a year. Rogers now says it’s going to go ahead and start charging for incoming text messages.

Uncoincidentally, this news comes on the same day Rogers announces that it’s going to integrate with Twitter, allowing the microblogging service to send updates to users’ phones.

Of course, like Bell and Telus, Rogers says this won’t change anything for most customers who have text messaging included in their plans, and they assure us that charges will be cancelled on spam messages (customers just have to fill out Form 18459-B in quadruplicate and have it signed by a notary, waiting 6-8 months for a credit on their bill).

Isn’t it great that our telecom universe is a three-player oligopoly where each company sets policies to mimic the others, for good or bad?

Insert brand here

Oh, and a side note to that Twitter thing: Rogers released separate press releases for Rogers Wireless and Fido saying just about the same thing. A quote from Twitter changes only the name of the brand:

Rogers:

“We’re thrilled to be working with Canada’s largest wireless provider,” said Kevin Thau, Twitter’s Director of Mobile Business Development. “Twitter is a real-time messaging service for sharing and discovering what’s happening – right now. By partnering with Rogers Wireless, customers using Twitter can now view, post and reply to messages, ensuring the application stays affordable and true to its real-time nature.”

Fido:

“We’re thrilled to be working with Fido,” said Kevin Thau, Twitter’s Director of Mobile Business Development. “Twitter is a real-time messaging service for sharing and discovering what’s happening – right now. By partnering with Fido, customers using Twitter can now view, post and reply to messages within their text messaging plans, ensuring the application stays affordable and true to its real-time nature.”

I’m not up on press-release ethics, but I can only conclude two things here: Either the release is lying to us, or Rogers made Kevin Thau say the exact same text twice, changing only the name of the brand.

Posted in Media, Montreal, Opinion

Addicted to press releases

If you ever needed an idea of how much the media relies on organizations to do their work for them by sending out press releases, you need only read this article in the NDG Monitor, blasting the NDG Soccer Association for not letting the paper know what’s going on. (To be fair, it’s more about them not cooperating with schedules and things.)

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.