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The Strategy Room

The Evolution of the Newspaper Industry & What it Means for PR

By: Emily Wenstrom

Is the newspaper dead? It’s certainly been declared so over and over—perhaps it’s karma for the times reporting has jumped the gun on a few deaths themselves.

To the contrary, the news media may be in upheaval as it comes to terms with the digital age, but this may be signs of a thriving future industry. As news media evolve, they are experiencing some growing pains that have unfortunately impacted too many talented reporters as publishing companies must lay off and make do until they find their new footing.

But it’s also an exciting time, full of innovation and new opportunities.

New Formats

As the news industry vies for loyalty from readers in the digital era, innovation is at the forefront. News had taken on new formats, such as the Skimm’s curated daily digest newsletter, multimedia-rich features and live updates from reporters on-site via Twitter.

These and other new formats the news industry is experimenting with all means creative new opportunities for public relations.

Niche-ification

Unlike days of print, where it was satisfactory to distribute the same package of national and global news to the footstep of all subscribers and be done, digital audiences are increasingly fragmented. With this, more digital publications are targeting niche audiences—look at the Skimm again, or 538, or one37pm.

For us PR pros, this means it’s more important than ever to have a clear definition of a client’s target audience. And more than ever, a media outlet’s audience demographic matters far more than its quantity.

Instant News

The 24-hour news cycle churns ever faster as media outlets compete to be the first to break a story, and  increasingly, Twitter is a go-to tool for reporters to break news while on site.

PR pros can attempt to keep up with the acceleration—and sometimes you’ll accomplish it—or, we can focus on exceptional quality that retains its value long beyond the instant of breaking news. What does this mean? This means that PR experts need to match quality experts to the right reporters, share original research on pertinent topics and provide creative and insightful pitches that bring something fresh to the table.

Big Opportunity Ahead

The digital age has changed everything for the news industry. It’s brought with it challenges and struggles that are not quickly resolved, and continue to keep the industry in flux. But, it also has brought innovation and opportunity as news finds new ways to connect to audiences.

Those of us in public relations have witnessed this transformation and rooted for it. Above all else, we are big fans of the news media! As the industry finds new models for media in its continued evolution, opportunities for innovation abound.




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