The effect of the newspaper industry on PR

Lately my JMC 473 Business and Future of Journalism class has been making me think immensely about where the industry is headed. We have now come to a time where we can safely say tangible paper newspapers are on the way out while e-readers are on the way in. The ones most heard about are the Amazon Kindle, Apple Ipad, Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader and even Samsung has one in the works. Today’s Journalistic blog called e-readers a “nail in the coffin for printed newspapers.” The blog also referenced The Onion’s parody of what people will do without stacks of recycled newspapers laying around the house. What will parents cover the tables with when kids do artwork? What will people use to make pinatas?

So what does this mean for public relations professionals? For starters, it means we will no longer be pitching to print reporters and will now be seeking out digital staff for online content. But lets not forget that print and online stories are very different in nature. Online stories are generally shorter and include links for active readers that want to get their news from a variety of different places. It’s easier for online readers to lose interest and look elsewhere. The opposite can be said for print. Readers that are holding a newspaper in their hand are usually a captivated audience. If newspapers become extinct will these two styles of writing be blurred? Or will everything be short and to the point? Some types of stories are better pitched to online outlets rather than those of print. In addition, this also means shortening our media lists. With newspapers staffs dwindling, less reporters are available to contact for releases.

What do you think? What are some other changes you think pr pros can expect to face or are currently facing given the current state of the newspaper industry? I’d love to hear your thoughts. This is a topic I would like to be discussing in further depth in my JMC 473 class since I am pursuing a job in the field of pr, not broadcast or print.

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3 Responses to The effect of the newspaper industry on PR

  1. crandell says:

    First off, since the journalism industry is shifting online and we deal with the idea of citizen journalists, do you think PR professionals are eliminating pitching to the reporters and going straight for publishing their own content online? I mean after all, we are journalism students and trained to write. I have found this happens much more frequently in my internship. It is much more realistic that I post a promotional blurb on our social media sites or website rather than contact a journalist to cover a specific topic of our resort.

    • acarlin says:

      I think PR professionals are pitching less story ideas to mainstream media. You’re right in the fact that we are trained journalists, and that we know Associated Press style. With the ever-growing blogosphere and social media tools, PR professionals can now “create” the content for their companies instead of waiting for reporters to cover it. This is not to say that we as PR people won’t ever pitch story ideas to the media, because we definitely still will. The way we do it and the way we get our news out there is the part that’s changing.

  2. cnaughton says:

    I wonder if this will affect how our pitches are published. For example, in my JMC 473 class, we took a look at the new digital, interactive, tablet version of Sports Illustrated. Take a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntyXvLnxyXk.

    Now our pitches will have to be communicated in a way that resonates with the publication. Maybe include photos, video, audio or combination of everything. Now, as PR professionals our journalism background (and Online Media) will become even more useful.

    We may have to present our ideas as a package in a platform that is compatible and will help to supplement these new e-readers and other interactive media. I recently did this at an internship. Our pitches may become more successful if we mold to our publication.

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