The Press Gazette, the UK trade publication for journalists, has launched an online briefing service for journalists.

Journalists can sign up for free, registering their particular areas of interest to receive the latest PR news releases by email. Journalists can also contact authors directly, build their public relations contacts and browse a database of archived press releases.

James Parsons, commercial manager at the Press Gazette, told dotJournalism that Press Briefing combines several services through one web portal.

"If a journalist needs to find out the price for a 1938 Bugatti, for example, they could contact an expert through British Car Auctions who are registered with the site," he explained.

Rather than contributing to a pool of homogeneous national news coverage, the service will help PR companies to deliver national news to local journalists, said Mr Parsons.

"Press Briefing is more about the delivery of information. It will allow journalists to put their own spin on larger stories."

Companies and PR agencies pay to display their latest news. Firms that had previously wanted to promote their news to journalists through the print edition can now do so online - using the interactivity of the web to get the information to work harder.

"These companies will see that what was a magazine entry is now a powerful online tool with many extra features," said Mr Parsons.

"There is also a crisis management tool available because firms can use the newsflash option. It means they can directly email journalists that have a registered interest in that specialist sector."

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