Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why didn't reporters attend your press conference?

Because it was a waste of time.

I'm generally against press conferences and other made-up events that are supposed to create news out of nothing. Press conferences are rickety, wizened old antiques from the 20th century. It is all well explained by Daniel Boostin in his classic book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. Press conferences are non-events dressed up as events.

That may have worked ten or twenty years ago when reporters were looking for things to do, but in the modern era when no reporter has the time to travel to a press conference, listen to a bunch of self-congratulatory chit chat, and then drive back to the office, something else must be done.

Conference calls tailored to specific reporters work well. But only if there is actual news worth reporting. That latter part is the tough part. But even if it's only sort of news, if you get a 100-word brief out of it, you've done well since you didn't waste a bunch of time planning an enormously inefficient press conference.

Not all events are necessarily bad, though, if they serve a purpose other than simply restating what's in a press release. The Bianchi Biz Blog has a nice piece here on how to get reporters to those events that are actually worth attending.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Apartment vacancies fell in fourth quarter

Apartment vacancies fell in fourth quarter
February 01, 2010 11:50 AM

Local apartments filled up late last year at a pace not seen in eight years.

The vacancy rate for Colorado Springs-area apartments was 8.7 percent during the final three months of 2009, down from 10.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the lowest for any fourth quarter since the rate was 8.9 percent in 2001, according to a report released today by the Colorado Division of Housing.

More troops at Fort Carson and a lack of new apartments being built in the area contributed to the falling vacancy rate, said Gordon Von Stroh, a University of Denver business professor and who authored the report.

Even though the demand for apartments is on the upswing, rents averaged $711.66 in the fourth quarter, which was about $1.60 less than the same period a year earlier.

Rents likely remained stable because of poor economic conditions, particularly shrinking payrolls and rising unemployment, said Housing Division spokesman Ryan McMaken. If the apartment vacancy rate continues to fall, however, expect rents to begin to rise significantly, he said.

The Housing Division's report is somewhat similar to a report by Apartment Insights, an online research company, which showed the apartment vacancy rate fell to 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter. While different in their numbers, both reports showed the apartment vacancy rate trending downward from the same period a year earlier.