Monday, March 15, 2004

State of the Media 

Journalism.org has released a lengthy report on the state of the media. It is here. The report isolated eight trends that are important to note because they affect how we do our business in PR. Here are the eight:

1. A growing number of news outlets are chasing relatively static or shrinking audiences for news. PR needs to target audiences better through multiple media.

2. Much of the new investment in journalism - much of the information revolution generally - is in disseminating the news, not in collecting it. This helps PR when we help the media do their work.

3. In many parts of the news media, we are increasingly getting the raw elements of news as the end product. This puts a premium on accuracy. PR, more than ever, needs to keep journalists out of trouble.

4. Journalistic standards now vary even inside a single news organization. Companies are trying to reassemble and deliver to advertisers a mass audience for news not in one place, but across different programs, products and platforms. PR should package its news for multiple media as a matter of practice.

5. Without investing in building new audiences, the long-term outlook for many traditional news outlets seems problematic. If there ever was a reason for PR practitioners to learn Web skills, this is it.

6. Convergence seems more inevitable and potentially less threatening to journalists than it may have seemed a few years ago. Convergence is a fact. PR practitioners must accept that as a fundamental part of working with news media.

7. The biggest question may not be technological but economic. How do publishers make the Web pay? It is not a new question but one that is becoming urgent. We should expect to be paying more for online media as time progresses.

8. Those who would manipulate the press and public appear to be gaining leverage over the journalists who cover them. This is good and bad. While we supply more information and get it published, we also risk our reputations as PR practitioners if we are sloppy, overtly biased or too sales oriented. Good PR requires subtlety unless one is a Barnum and Bailey style publicist. Then, anything goes, but one is typecast quickly.

Read the whole summary. It is worth your time.


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