Thursday, February 8, 2007

More thoughts on social media news releases

Props to the folks over at the Prime Minister’s office, who have gone beyond simply posting video clips on the PM’s official Web site and have now created a YouTube account and started uploading clips of the PM’s speeches. (via CTV journalist and blogger David Akin.)

Ironic that this 'news' broke just as a colleague started looking into doing just this sort of thing. She’s wondering about making video and audio clips available on our own external Web site. Why not? Why not make downloadable clips of designated spokespeople talking, instead of just printed citations? Instead of just getting pick-up in the print media, we can start pushing content out to the broadcast media - not just the big outlets, but think of all those community stations and the local radio shows. And we could do it in multiple languages, not just English and French but Mandarin and Punjabi and other large ethnic concentrations. And since we've already got the clips, why not upload them to YouTube?

And while all that was percolating in my brain, this morning I read this great post by Brendan Hodgson at Hill & Knowlton on the social media newsroom. He calls the newsroom “the pulse of an organization's public-facing website,” a virtual ‘broadcast hub’ that, when done right, “serves as a convenient one-stop resource for journalists (who rely heavily on the internet - and corporate web sites - for timely, useful background information around a company, product or issue), [becoming] a potent vehicle for communicating to all interested audiences the vision and values of an organization.” He goes on to argue for a newsroom that is “a portal of sorts configured to channel content - be it video, audio, text, photos, blogs, podcasts etc. - in a way that creates a significantly richer experience, and which can meaningfully impact the myriad of variables that drive reputation - from the perspectives of accessibility, relevancy, transparency, and context.” (Sorry for the extensive quoting, but I really think Brendan got this bang-on, and I think we are seriously underutilizing the capabilities of our website newsroom.)

I poked around to see if any Canadian government organizations have been using video clips in their public news rooms, but I didn’t find much. Agriculture has some Tony Clement talking about Canada’s new food guide. Know of any others out there?

So, what do you think? Is it time for governments to start offering downloadable audio and video clips? Could a departmental podcast be far behind?