Snackbox Turns 10: PR: Look How Far We’ve Come

By: Jamie Hooker

Ten years ago, it was a time when people listened to their voicemail. You know, like you leave one and the other person listens to it, and then actually calls you back?

The public relations process has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Students entering the PR workforce today are very lucky to have the tools they do, mostly because our job now relies heavily on the Internet. From pitching to BlackBerrys, we truly don’t know where to start.

Press Releases

Today, children don’t know what it means to “fax” something, but that was how press releases were sent to news outlets 10+ years ago. Calling reporters to see if they received your fax was very common, too. Although we still call stations and reporters for hopeful coverage, email is our go-to today.


Before you pitch, you need a media list. Today, databases of hundreds of thousands of reporter and outlet contact info is readily available online. Bacon Books were used before online databases, and were basically huge phone book-looking things that you physically flip through to find what you need. (Sort of like actually going to a library…) Each media type, such as television, radio, and newspaper, had it’s own Bacon Book, so that kind of made things easier, right?

News Clips

For my Mac users, command+shift+4 gives you a screen shot of your placement in seconds that you can save to your computer with ease. A decade ago, life was not so simple. Scissors and tape were essentials when it came to documenting a placement. For a newspaper, you would cut the name of the paper and the placement out and tape them to a piece of copy paper. If the placement is longer than the eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper, you had to tape another sheet of paper to it. BUT WAIT, you weren’t done yet. You would then make a copy on the printer so it was all one cohesive piece of paper. Thank goodness for technology.

Press Conferences

Although these do still happen, they don’t happen nearly as often. What can be done with a press release and simple mass email to reporters is much easier than holding a press conference. Thanks to smartphones and live streaming, hand held recorders and notepads are a thing of the past.

Gone are the days of BlackBerrys; we have come so far.