Thursday, December 02, 2004

Tomorrow, Who Knows? 

The newspaper industry is in trouble -- not because publishers have cheated on circulation numbers, which several have done. The trouble lies with young professionals who are not reading newspapers and see no need to do so. It's not that the young are illiterate, or that they depend on TV news. They read online because it is quicker, and they flit from site to site and pick up as much or more information than they would get by turning newspaper pages. There is angst among publishers about how to respond to this change in media preference. No one, it seems, has figured out a workable economic model.

I have angst of a different sort, however. What is the PR industry doing?

A dirty secret we live with is that clients don't value online publishing as much as readers do. They want to see a clip on newsprint. It's real that way. An online page of HTML formatting isn't the same. But since readers value HTML above newsprint, we dare not ignore them out of responsibility for clients, as well as our own professionalism.

The time is here for some and coming soon for others when most placements will be online. The newspaper or magazine clip will be an oddity. The transition is rough, and we are not yet at a tipping point.


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