by Björn Schöpe
August 14, 2012 – In 1969 the Rolling Stones sang on their album ‘Let it bleed’ ‘You can’t always get what you want’. I suppose that is still valid today, and we can’t always get the press releases we want. But we may dream a bit, may we not?
Naturally, mints and other companies send their press releases to many various persons and offices. It is therefore justified that these releases may not answer immediately to all the wishes and necessities of all recipients since some publish them online, other in printed media and always in different ways of presentation. However, it may be of help to describe how we – probably similar to many other specialized journalists who work primarily in the field of online publishing – have to deal with what we receive. In the end we all want to communicate what the mints or other companies whishes to be known everywhere: what splendid new issues are being struck, who has assumed a new position in their company, what thrilling new project is to be started …
There are really extremely attractive files, generally pdf files of new coin issues. They appeal to the eye, may even contain all required images and information – but they definitely mean a mess to us. Because we can’t put a pdf online just like this. So we have to copy the text and this means a lot of re-working to delete all previous formatting, paragraphs, special characters and so on. Anyway, this is indispensable to insert it in our html style sheets. So, once again – less is more.
At least in addition to these nice pdf files we are always very glad when we receive text files (word, rtf, txt) with simply the text and the images separately. Because images inserted in pdf files generally do not even suffice to online requirements of low resolution (between 72 and 150 dpi).
And by the way as we are speaking of images: images of the coins in precious cases or with lots of atmospheric photos around are great – but we don’t publish them. Collectors – and we write primarily for collectors – don’t buy coins because they are delivered in valuable cases made of chosen wood or leather but because of the coin itself. Thus they want to see as much as possible of the coin design. What we need therefore are good images of the coins’ obverse and reverse – and that’s it.
As for the text: to send us just the basic data in an email with a couple of images is not really practical, because generally we can’t make a living out of writing these press releases for the mints.
Although we adore publishing them we are extremely glad of getting a written text that introduces the new coin, gives the occasion of issue, technical data, where to buy it, some background information on the history of the coin’s motif, things like that. Even if collectors buy coins because they are part of a series they have once started to collect, they prefer to read some gripping words that give an idea of what the coin is all about, that draw a picture, so to speak. Sometimes we can’t even extract whether the coin has appeared yet or not. Well, that would be nice to know as well.
Oh, and speaking of online publishing: a link to an up-to-date website where we can send our readers to is also of help (preferably in English, as not everybody speaks so many much less used languages …). You may not believe it, but sometimes there are even cases where it is not really clear, who is the issuing authority – of course we don’t have to mention it to YOU that this is of vital importance, not so much to us but to YOU …
And since we generally don’t need dozens of high resolution pictures, we love to receive just the necessary images in low resolution and maybe a link where to download other pictures. And when I say a link, I intend a working link – unfortunately this is not so common as we might think …
If we don’t get all these information at one time by email, don’t worry, we move and work by ourselves, too! But without a ‘media room’ or ‘press section’ on the company’s website that provides the information it is rather difficult to proceed. Of course we love to communicate with persons, to write emails or even to phone – but it takes awfully much time and money, and work runs much smoother when we may avoid these steps.
Do you have a new director general? We report on it! You’ve got a photo? We publish it! You have a text in German? We put it online! We also publish an English version to spread the news all over the world. But sorry, we don’t have always time and capacities to translate everything from very interesting languages. So when you want to see your news published for the German market, consider sending us a text in German. For the international market English is great!
And one crucial point of publishing news is, of course, the right moment. People prefer to read about a new issue, when they are able to get it. This means shortly before it is issued or immediately after – neither half a year before, nor half a year later. And we are trying to perform miracles, but if you send us the material not just half a day before it should be published that would be really great, too!
Well, don’t get me wrong. No complaining. We love press releases. We rely on it! And many press releases are right perfect. Much of the material we receive fits our needs, or we don’t have to do much in order to transforming it. But sometimes what we get makes us dream about what we want.
However, you may remember how the Stones’ lyrics continue: ‘You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometime, you just might find / You get what you need’. So, read these lines simply as a way of trying to make it clear what I think we need in our daily business of working in your interest …