Well, it may not be dead, but I'd say it's on life support in all too many cases. Probably 97 percent of the releases I get are irrelevant, contain no news, are so poorly written that they're not worth trying to parse out, etc. , etc., that they go directly into the circular file (physical or electronic—same problems, just different delivery systems). I can't help but wonder how many good ones get thrown away with the heaping mass? Even more annoying are the PR people who call to say, "Did you get my press release?" Unless it was in that 3 percent, I'm not going to remember. The other 97 percent gets treated with all the TLC of spam, which it pretty much is. How many more trees must die before we stop this insanity?!
If you want to get the attention of anyone--say, the local newspaper that could give your meeting a great publicity boost--listen to Anil Dash's most excellent rant, and use this as an example of what not to do (Anil's talking about pitching bloggers specifically, but it holds pretty true for the rest of the world, too).
Make it relevant, make it interesting, and tell me why I specifically should care. If you can't, don't send it. Thanks.