Canadian government ditches traditional press releases

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An official blog post from the Government Communication Service announced press releases are out in favor of ‘a more digital-friendly product.’

By Matt Wilson | Posted: January 10, 2014
The Canadian government is ditching the traditional press release for an entirely different format designed for the Internet age.

“The media and stakeholders will get a fresh approach from Canadian Government departments and agencies,” Kim McKinnon of the Communications Community Office wrote in an official blog post. “Two or three paragraphs of short, crisp text will allow them to scan quickly for the key messages of the announcement. The new format also offers quick access to key facts and additional resources.”

The post includes a link to an example of the government’s new release format. After some brief introductory paragraphs, the release goes into “quick facts” bullet points, followed by a quote, and some links.

Government communicators will be encouraged to “repurpose the quick facts and quotes for Facebook and Twitter posts,” according to McKinnon’s post.

The new release format coincides with the recent launch of the government of Canada’s newsroom website.

The Canadian government isn’t quite taking the advice of Coca-Cola’s Ashley Brown, who has advocated for the death of the press release altogether in favor of brand journalism initiatives. Its press releases are evolving, not going out the window. After all, McKinnon’s blog post is titled, “The press release is dead. Long live the press release.”

[RELATED: Get advanced brand journalism tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela.]

Still, it’s a major step. What do you think of the Canadian government’s push for a “more digital-friendly product”?

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