25 August 2009
 
Even today, there is uncertainty amongst media relations professionals when the conversation turns to password protection within an online newsroom. So many communicators are cautious because they’ve heard that closed areas annoy journalists. In 2004, we interviewed communicators from the Detroit Lions, Ford Motor Company, and others concerning secured sections for a PRWeek article entitled “Op-Ed: Passwords can enhance value of online newsrooms.”
 
The knowledge shared by these experienced communicators revealed that log-in registration done correctly is advantageous to both journalist and communicator. Proper strategy involves knowing your audience, your objective, and the value of your content. Correct execution entails opening and or closing a section as needed, when needed. The TEKgroup Online Newsroom gives you this capability.
 
Password protection is not a necessity, nor a good fit for all organizations. However, a balance can be a win-win for the parties involved. Although 77 percent of journalists surveyed in the annual TEKgroup Online Newsroom Survey will register to enter secure sections, the proper strategy to password protect is specific to individual organizations. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan.
 
Benefits for journalists: 
  • Access to closed sections.
  • Access to media contact cell phone numbers.
  • Receipt of media advisories.
  • Receipt of official email alerts that contain requested subject matter only (i.e. environmental news). Hence, no spam received.
  • Choice of user name and password.
  • Storage of news releases, photographs and other elements in a personal folder or “briefcase” within the online newsroom.
Benefits for communicators: 
  • Categorization of content targeted to media only.
  • Accountable tracking of number of views for news releases, photographs, and other elements within the online newsroom.
  • Identification of journalists who accessed news releases, photographs, and other elements within the newsroom.
  • Different levels of editing authorization for multiple sections.
  • Different levels of editing authorization for multiple administrators.
  • Increased number of journalists in internal database.
  • Creation of internal sections for the purpose of supplying select content to freelance editors, employees, agencies, investors, analysts, potential clients, partners and vendors.
Since the online newsroom serves audiences beyond the media, carefully consider your goals before password protecting the entire site, or multiple sections. Commonly protected sections within the industry are high-resolution photographs, executive biographies, cell phone numbers, email alerts/advisories, and special sections.
 
Below are a few online newsrooms that require password protection:
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