Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bad news about B2B news

Today is not a good day for B2B journalism.

First there is the depressing study by research firm Outsell, which says that "press releases have surpassed trade journals as the leading source of information for knowledge workers."
I've long bemoaned that too many of our peers blur the lines between press releases and original reporting. But now, if the Outsell report is to be believed, readers in at least one B2B space are saying they use press releases more than they use our publications. And that is simply heartbreaking.
Certainly some of this can be traced to the immediacy of the Web. Companies that once needed us to distribute their press releases can now communicate directly with their target audience. And as I've said before, in a world where anyone can be a publisher, we must find a new role to replace that of gatekeeper.

The other piece of bad news today is that "Amusement Business" has closed down. It's almost always sad to see a magazine close. But the death of "Amusement Business" is particularly tough to swallow. The publication had a history, a significance, worth noting. "Amusement Business" debuted in 1894 as "Billboard Advertising." And like many a B2B publication, it morphed and grew, eventually spinning off one of the bigger names in our industry -- "Billboard" magazine.
Take a few minutes today to bow your head, mourn the loss, and read this story about the death of "Amusement Business" in BtoB magazine.

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  1. There is also a quite positive site in these findings:

    Most B2B Journalists spend 80 plus percent of their times to 'rewrite' press releases or/and work on company initiated subjects.

    If B2B media can accept the fact that this news (via press release) are accessible to anyone through the net, the have (close to) 80 percent of their time to do something beneficial and inspiring for their reader / users?

  2. Hi Hugo,
    Good point. If more publishers can be convinced that our readers no longer use us to find press releases, we may have to fill our publications with more substantial work.

  3. We have no one to blame but ourselves. The practice of rewriting -- or simply copying -- press releases and passing them off as news to our readers has finally caught up with us.

    As much as I hate the cliche, our work has to offer value to readers now. Basic reporting combined with perspective on our individual markets add that value.

  4. Hi Jim,
    You're right.
    We did this to ourselves. Far too many B2B publications have opted to take the easy route -- filling pages with press releases. And we shouldn't be surprised that our readers don't find much value in re-reading a press release they saw on the Web a month ago.


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