The shift to digital and online news has transformed the media landscape in just the last few years. It wasn’t so long ago that some of my colleagues mailed press releases to target journalists, hoping to secure interest in a story or article (I’ve heard the stories; as a 20-something young professional whose life is ruled by email, it’s hard to imagine!). The changes we’re seeing – from how news is reported and consumed to how it’s “measured” – are impacting everyone.
Here are three driving forces behind the shifting media environment:
- Halving of America’s newsrooms: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts is projected to decline another 9% before 2024. With fewer journalists covering a wider array of topics, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break through.With fewer journalists in newsrooms covering a wider array of topics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to break through.Click To Tweet
- Coverage of controversy: Business Insider’s Maxwell Tani said it well, “Regardless of whether they’re frightened, unfazed, or motivated by the new administration’s declaration of war on the press, many journalists are examining, and doubling down, on their coverage of the new administration.” This means journalists – at some of the most prestigious news outlets – are actively monitoring, seeking and writing stories around our current president’s next move. For those of us without a political angle, it’s nearly impossible to get our voices heard.
- Journalist salaries: The BLS also reported the annual pay for reporters, correspondents and news analysts averaged $34,720 in 2015. While colleges and universities continue to offer journalism and media studies as a part of their communications curriculum, this salary data is discouraging. We should expect fewer new journalists to enter the fray.
But there are two things that haven’t changed: today’s journalists still seek a continuous stream of fresh, new story ideas and it’s still our job as PR pros to help source them. Granted, the pace has quickened and the channels are more virtual. According to Reuters Institute Report from the University of Oxford, global media outlets have in recent years increased their use of analytics (e.g., systematic analysis of quantitative data on various aspects of audience behavior) to grow audiences, increase engagement and improve newsroom workflows.
Count on the media landscape to continue its rapid evolution. Also count on this: We can no longer rely on media coverage to deliver the level of brand awareness and demand we need. It’s not a problem; it’s an opportunity for you to start taking command of your brand’s story.