Marine Café Blog stopped using maritime press releases long ago. There is just too much of them. They come rushing like the waves in Winslow Homer’s 1891 painting Watching the Breakers (pictured above), flooding the in-box of journalists to subsequently see the light of day in maritime news websites and print publications.
Just as the sea gradually erodes rocks on the coast, public relations firms are changing the face of maritime journalism. Today’s shipping press is bloated with news releases. The line between legitimate news story and publicity material often vanishes so that it is difficult to tell which is which. Interpretative reporting is becoming as rare as the gray whale as editors mindlessly consume what is fed to them by PR agencies. The result: a frightening uniformity in both style and content that hardly serves the interest of readers.
PR firms are subverting the maritime press in another, more insidious way. Maritime news organisations are losing their advertisers as companies turn to PR consultants. Why bother placing an advert on some website when the PR geniuses can get your message across to more people at less cost? Media outfits that gorge themselves on press releases don’t realise that they are shooting themselves in the foot.