Has Online News Killed The Friday Afternoon Announcement?

Last Friday, Google announced that it would start hosting material from several large news agencies, including Associated Press, Canadian Press, the UK Press Association and more, through Google News.

Not surprisingly, this has been a little controversial – the announcement raised concerns that this change will take traffic and revenue away from other online news sources (amusingly, these concerns were also raised in a frequently-used AP story – is that the definition of irony?).

The SearchEngineWatch blog posted an interesting piece titled, “Was Google’s AP announcement a PR disaster?

The posting makes one interesting point about the age-old tactic of using Fridays and the days before long weekends to ‘bury’ controversial announcements (the ‘dark side’ of PR, if you will). The author, Greg Jarboe, notes that this tactic may no longer work:

Everything in the PR playbook changed five years ago this month when Google launched Google News. And over this year’s long Labor Day weekend, I was able to use Google News to find more than 275 articles about Google’s AP announcement.

This is a great observation. I agree with Greg that this tactic’s effectiveness is greatly reduced given today’s shortened news cycle, democratized media and citizen journalists. Still, I don’t think this spells the end of Friday afternoon announcements. Let’s face it, the stories may be out there but how many people are reading them at the weekend?

Then again, perhaps this change is a good thing. If the standard tactics don’t work any more, perhaps organizations will be forced to actually engage with their stakeholders. Rather than hide controversial news, perhaps they’ll be forced to reach out and work with affected groups.

Then again, perhaps there will always be ways to bury bad news.

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.