Old press releases never die, they hang around on websites

7 September 2005

IBM in Spain has put together a survey of online pressrooms in an attempt to work out how many companies are doing them the right way, and how many are getting it wrong.
I found the link via PR Shel Holtz's blog who wonders why companies put up press release archives: "It’s been some 30 years since I was a newspaper reporter, but try as I might, I just can’t remember a time when I needed an old press release."

If you have been following a particular company or issue for a while, you are unlikely to need them but it is handy to have them available when you are coming to a company for the first time and you need to check when something was first announced, or trying to build something like a timeline of acquisitions for a business feature. It is also useful to see what a company said at the time of a launch a year on, when the product in question is still stuck in the lab. However, it can be handy in those circumstances to maintain your own archive just in case the company in question performs a little Stalin-style airbrushing of history on its press website. In this case, a search on 8Ks at Edgar (or its international equivalents) if it is a publicly quoted company can be more useful as those documents cannot be changed after the fact.

I only hope that Holtz is not advising clients to take down their archives: the further back the archive goes the better is the rule for me. For PRs, they might not generate coverage in their own, but for hacks, the more information we have to hand the easier it is to make sure stuff gets checked.