Some OHS information is very questionable

Media releases are statements issued to the media for the purposes of informing that media’s audience of something they may find newsworthy or interesting.  Increasingly media releases are being used as a substitute for advertising.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has an editorial policy that releases advertising a product are not used as the basis for an article.  One example of such a strongly commercially focussed media release is HERE.  However, we read almost all media releases received and take great pains on those we “use”, to identify the original source be it a survey report, research or a court case.  

Any content we quote is clearly identified as coming from a media release so that the reader understands the context of the information and the way that information, mostly, arrives at SafetyAtWorkBlog.

Such product promotion releases have a place in many of the OHS and safety trade publications and websites.  Safety Solutions is one site/magazine, for which I have written in the past, that clearly states its aim, which is to provide solutions to workplace risks, often these involve products such as gauges and interlock devices.

An annoyance for SafetyAtWorkBlog is that many of the OHS websites and new media do not differentiate advertisements from news.  It is not the case that the release of a new product is news.

Take, for example, the website Korea IT Times which has reprinted the media release above in its entirety.  The product is unrelated to information technology!  Korea IT Times describes itself as

“…an ambitious and forward-thinking journal that strives to capture the essence of what is truly Intelligent Technology news. The News provides its readers with comprehensive, intelligent and up-to-date IT industry news and analysis on-line realtime and off-line monthly basis.”

Yet it “reports” about a spray can attachment.

The link included above shows a media release received by SafetyAtWorkBlog on 22 February 2010.  The release’s content is dated on the company’s website as November 2009.

The public relations company, if one was used, is doing a good job if the aim is to distribute product information around the globe but if the information is turning up on websites that are off-topic, the exercise seems pointless.

This blog is an example of one use of new media that is taking advantage of the opening of information sources online.  But from the outset SafetyAtWorkBlog  established editorial policies and an aim for the blog.  We do not aggregate the news that circulates around the internet.  We select what we think can add to the state of knowledge on safety management and for the safety professionals.  Poor use of media releases simply shows infrequent users of the internet how crappy the internet can be.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia
Categories advertising, asia, business, campaign, media, OHS, safety, UncategorizedTags ,

3 thoughts on “Some OHS information is very questionable”

  1. As a public relations writer specialising in OHS, this is a topic close to my heart, Kevin, and I hear you.

    Different people need different types of information. Some people who have safety as part of their responsibilities (eg: a production engineer installing a new line) do want to know where they can get the right products to make their equipment safe. Others (eg: a director of OHS) are focussed on policy and direction. Different publications cater to these disparate groups.

    Astute writers work hard to avoid offending publishers (bloggers included) with inappropriate material. Hope I haven\’t inspired this blog by misdirecting anything to you. Firefly prides itself on producing quality information that publishers look forward to receiving!

    1. As Firefly is one of the few Australian public relations firm that \”understands\” OHS, it sets a benchmark in its OHS media statements. I remember that Firefly does PR for some interlock companies and although a new product is being promoted, the releases rarely feel like a \”sell\”.

      Recently an Australian politician made a faux-pas on workers\’ compensation. This is very easy to do with workers\’ compensation if one does not maintain one\’s understanding of the topic or have a suitably knowledgeable adviser. Similalry, a PR person should not only have a basic understanding of concepts, they also need to maintain that understanding. I think it\’s why PR people who specialise provide a much better return on effort and investment.

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