Tag Archives: Newspapers

The newspaper Armageddon: what it means to the media industry

10 Jun

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Hoosier PRSA luncheon with guest speaker, Ruth Holladay, a journalist for 37 years and former Indianapolis Star columnist. The topic, “What the Heck Are Newspapers,” fit perfectly with the gloomy and dreary Wednesday afternoon. In media relations, the recent decline in newspapers is a bit startling. As we watch a “revolution” unfold before our eyes, we are hesitant and nervous as to what the future may hold, especially for newspapers. Holladay is a committed journalist with strong beliefs in the “noisy, tangible, yet heroic” newspaper. Not surprising, given the generation. My mom would never consider ending her subscription to the Indy Star, it’s a tradition.

Now, I don’t have a crystal ball or tarot cards but I can tell you… with the reality of newspapers becoming extinct, many media relations professionals are starting to freak, especially with hypotheses such as this one, “Last Newspaper to Publish April 2043.” Whoa is right?

Without the 15” by 22” black and white bundle of information, who would cover our stories? Who would interview our clients and tell their stories? The answer is the same as before, people!

While we live in a harsh reality, we also live in a society full of eccentric and extraordinary human minds. As a young PR professional (only my 4th week in the real world), I have not lost hope. While the Internet may be damaging the newspaper business, it certainly has opened many doors for us PR folks. The fascinating, yet mildly intimidating World Wide Web is a media relations challenge in itself. This revolution forces more concise & accurate research to ensure we are pitching the right people. And not just that, but that we are firm believers in what we pitch. In a word of mouth society, we can’t afford to tick off any journalists or bloggers! Research is the backbone to any successful PR coverage. Sure, everyone gets lucky now and then, but more often than not, luck isn’t enough.

welcome to the world wide web signIt is no surprise the amount of engagement that coincides with the Internet. Instead of a few people influencing the masses, we PR professionals engage new influencers. It truly is spectacular. Deviating from the theory of structural imperialism, the flow of information is no longer just from the center, transnational news agencies. The Internet has given new meaning to the free flow of information. The millions of blogs are essentially peripheries, creating and sharing their own information and beliefs, and connecting with one another. Blogs and news sites continue to throw information, opinions and ideas at us left and right. While it’s exhilarating, it’s a challenge to keep up. As long as people are talking, journalism and media relations are not going anywhere, just simply headed a different direction. Change is inevitable.

So what is the future of newspapers? Will they soon shrink to regional or even national papers? Will they land on our doorstep only twice a week? What does it mean for media relations? Time shall tell. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments!

And, if you want to learn more about Ruth, check out her blog: http://www.ruthholladay.com/

Advertisements