Journalists are now finding it easier to locate the PR-related information they need on corporate web sites, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by usability expert Jakob Nielsen, shows a marked improvement in the way web sites organise and design their content for users.

According to Mr Nielsen: "Corporations spend millions on PR, yet the press sections of their web sites often fail to meet journalists' most basic information needs."

In his last survey during 2001, journalists found answers to only 68 per cent of their questions across a range of corporate sites. This time round the success rate was 73 per cent.

According to Mr Nielsen: "It is particularly gratifying that most web sites now follow the guideline to make it easy for users to locate the contact information for a PR representative. This is one of the most important tasks for journalists, and the success rate is now a respectable 82 per cent - a huge improvement over the miserable 55 per cent score in 2001."

In 2001 web sites followed 63% of the guidelines for online press releases. By 2003 compliance had increased to 78 per cent.

Mr Nielsen added: "Many company web sites are still not sufficiently forthcoming: they often fail to use plain language that simply says what they're doing and gets to the point quickly."


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