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Prepared for August 30, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All

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Power of Newswire: David Armon

Using a newswire service is no longer a communications

tool solely for public relations professionals to reach out to media

audiences, according to David Armon, a senior vice president

focusing on customers and markets who works with PR Newswire.

"It’s

a way to go directly to consumers," says Armon.

Armon will be the featured speaker on the topic, "Getting Good

Press — a PR Case Study of the Best and Worst Practices for

Distributing

News" for the New Jersey Communications, Advertising, and

Marketing

Association (CAMA) meeting at the Doral Forrestal on Tuesday,

September

12, at 11:30 a.m. Cost: $35. Call 609-799-4900.

Millions of individual investors and other consumers are now gathering

their own information, rather than relying solely on what is reported

by journalists. And people can learn about more than 40,000 companies,

agencies, and institutions that are members of PR Newswire by visiting

the main website (www.prnewswire.com), and via the more than 1,200

websites, online databases, and trading sites on the Internet that

are part of the news distribution network of PR Newswire.

"PR Newswire offers real-time access to information that people

want and need. And it’s important to keep in mind that this access

allows your investors, your competitors, and your customers —

as well as the media — to receive information without delay,"

says Armon, noting that direct data lines are changing the role of

media as the traditional gatekeeper of news.

News release embargoes (which prohibit the publication of a news item

until a specified date) and exclusives (meaning those times when only

one journalist or media outlet is chosen to receive a piece of news)

are nearly extinct, according to Armon. "Exclusives are now

defined

as being the first journalist to tour a plant or conduct an interview

with the chairman," he says.

Of special interest to employers is the need to communicate with their

own employees about company news. "A sales rep doesn’t want to

first hear about the acquisition of his employer company from a search

engine query," says Armon.

The core business of PR Newswire is serving as a news conduit for

more than 22,000 media points through wire, fax, and E-mail delivery,

plus more than 30,000 journalists registered for access to its media

Web sites. Founded in 1954, PR Newswire distributes new releases and

photos directly from its members to journalists.

"When it comes to getting exposure through all media, the

do-it-yourself

approach (which may work well at the local level) isn’t enough,"

says Armon. "People need the expertise that PR Newswire offers

for targeted distribution (including translation in other

languages)."

Becoming a member of PR Newswire is affordable, with a $100 membership

fee and an "a la carte" menu of options that range from $100

to $5,000 for the distribution and monitoring of news releases

prepared

by members.

Today’s news climate offers new opportunities for the business

community,

according to Armon. One example is a case study to be discussed at

the September 12 meeting about an ABC "20/20" interview, which

was anticipated to undermine the credibility of a particular company.

"Before the paradigm change, the only option would have been to

pursue a legal injunction for prior restraint," says Armon. "But

now public relations professionals can plead their case for a fair

shake directly to consumers before such an interview is

broadcast."

Another new development is the ability to monitor what others are

saying about your company. For example, PR Newswire and Internet

Crimes

Group of Princeton have recently launched a joint venture that

conducts

Internet investigations through its E-Watch capacity. Described by

Armon as being "private eyes of cyberspace," they can monitor

postings on message boards and even track down who is the anonymous

source that posted a derogatory or threatening comment on an Internet

message board.

"We’re not intrusive, but rather (this service) quietly monitors

what is happening, whether the source is a rogue employee sharing

company secrets or a disgruntled worker," says Armon.

Born and raised in Rochester, New York, David Armon developed an

interest

in media at an early age. "I was a radio station groupie,"

he says, noting that he would hang around the local radio station

in between school and temple during his adolescent years. His mother

worked as a teacher and his father worked in the printing industry

and was a classical music buff.

Armon earned a degree in journalism from Syracuse University’s Utica

College and has attended graduate business programs at Cornell

University

and the American Management Association. After working as a public

relations account executive and business reporter and bureau chief,

Armon joined the staff of PR Newswire in 1989. He was promoted to

the vice president of national sales in 1998, and now oversees all

sales and marketing activities for PR Newswire in the United States

and Latin America.

"Every day is different," says Armon, who finds his work with

PR Newswire and its advances in multimedia capacities to be especially

satisfying. "I really enjoy being part of major news development

at PR Newswire." He noted that they now have 50 stories about

the recent Bridgestone/Firestone tire recall available to journalists

throughout the world.

Armon predicts improved global reach, further diversification

(embedding

audio and video in news releases), and other enhancements so that

"a press release becomes a living document." His advice to

public relations professionals who are just starting their careers:

"Nothing will replace good writing. Learn to write for the

consumer,

rather than technical jargon. Understand marketing and advertising

. . . and the results will be powerful."

— Vivian Fransen


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