More PR posing as real news
Updated - October 7
Yesterday's PR release from Murray Energy that landed on the News-Register's front page (see below) was moved to today's Intelligencer's front page of the 2nd section. Casey Junkins added his byline and rewrote parts of the story. The Intelligencer then replaced the front page Murray Energy story with another PR release - this time from West Virginia University.
The subject of the PR release is President Gordon Gee's State of the University address and if you compare the two versions you will see that the only difference between the two is that the Intelligencer edited out two-thirds of the release. (Here is the Intelligencer's version and here is the original.)
What is kept, once you get past the first paragraph, is word-for-word from the original PR release. And in order to make a speech about WVU relevant to the Ohio Valley readers and justify its Weirton sub-headline, the "newspaper" focused on four sentences about Weirton:
West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee has announced a project in which the school will begin helping Weirton rebuild from the collapse of its steel industry.
Gee also announced the beginning of a community engagement project aimed at understanding the sociological and economic needs of Weirton and helping the town rebound from the collapse of its steel industry.
"Through inter-disciplinary work that pairs university and external resources with front line community intelligence, we can find solutions that honor the culture and history of our communities," he said.
Weirton is choosing a "path forward," Gee said. "West Virginia can be a model for communities and individuals across this country - of how to be resilient, determined and successful."
Around one-fourth of the article is about Weirton and rest is about the University. Why not just write an actual article about WVU's plans for Weirton as the title suggests? Never mind -- it's a lot easier to just cut-and-paste from the PR release.
Update -- October 7
Yesterday the Intelligencer published a WVU press release and called it a news story because a small section of Gee's speech dealt with Weirton. Today they turned those 118 words dealing with Weirton into a 384 word editorial. As you can see, Gee's plan is short on specifics. Not surprising, so is the editorial. Here is the last sentence:
Some may wonder what WVU can add to those efforts.
Yes, we wonder. It's too bad we don't have a newspaper that takes the time and effort to actually ask someone at WVU what they plan to do.