30pc of PR releases unchecked, says researcher

PANPA editorial co-ordinator BRETT TAYLOR files from the Victorian Country Press Association conference that began this morning.

SHEPPARTON: Country newspaper representatives have tackled issues such as new media and accurate reporting at the 98th annual Victorian Country Press Association conference.

Around 100 member representatives gathered today at Shepparton, Victoria – home of the McPherson Media-owned Shepparton News – for the yearly discussion of challenges for regional newspapers.

Deakin University’s Lisa Waller revealed around 30 percent of regional-based newspaper journalists failed to verify the source of press releases.

Ms Waller headed a study into the growing trend of press releases appearing unchecked and unedited in country press. PR practitioners were increasingly setting the news agenda, according to the study, which surveyed government and commercial media officers.

Lazy or overburdened journalists are the main suspects for the results, said Ms Waller, who is seeking to further the study by entering newsrooms to tell the journalists’ side of the story.

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