Monday, October 5, 2009

L.A. Kings Hires Its Own Reporter -- An idea for the rest of us?

Increasingly, professional sports teams are hiring their own reporters, rather than rely on their local papers.

Check out: "As Coverage Wanes, Los Angeles Kings Hire Own Reporter." Just as with social media, the new Kings reporter (who gets a bump in pay and perhaps better long-term job stability) Rich Hammond contends that fans will know the difference between reporting and public relations.

In other words, it comes down to credibility.

But if there's not much coverage elsewhere, fans won't really have much of an alternative to either, and may not be able to tell the difference.

It's not just sports teams, either. Check out: "ESPN’s Boston Site and Patriots Line Up on the Same Side of the Ball."

So the question: should PR functions hire their own reporter to generate coverage? In some cases, that could make sense, such as several nonprofit research institutes I'm familiar with -- that have lots of news about studies and programs they conduct. That could be worthwhile.

For the rest, especially B2B companies, that might be overkill. Though they could solve the perennial need that companies have: to promote customers who won't speak for attribution.

Then again, the credibility arises. I bet more companies might consider working with now-freelancing trade reporters. The question: who will blink first at the sign of negative news by a hired journalist: the journalist or the company itself.

What do you think?

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