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Opportunities/Challenges 2012 #2: ‘The State of The Media Report 2012, Evolving and Merging’

By November 20, 2012 No Comments

Earlier this year we made the following observations of the challenges and opportunities facing CEOs in 2012 for the benefit of people in public relations and corporate affairs:

  1. Some CEOs will become more stressed with information overload and confusion
  2. Traditional newspapers will become less relevant to business
  3. Social media will become more relevant to business
  4. Newspapers will normalise the paywall
  5. The cloud will become an accepted location to store data
  6. Video streaming/integration of vision into written content/blogging will start in earnest
  7. Blogs will remain relevant in the new media
  8. The concept of ‘communities’ will become more defined
  9. Traditional PR networks like the PRIA, the IABC, and IPREX will be challenged

Below are extracts from ‘The State of The Media Report 2012, Evolving and Merging’ by Vocus (like Media Monitors only bigger), which lend support to those 9 points:


♥  In 2011, 111 newspapers folded with an additional 41 papers lost in newspaper mergers. At a total of 152, the number of newspapers closing was almost even with 2010’s 151 newspaper folds.

♥  The focus in newspapers, both online and print, is about local news, but that doesn’t mean smaller operations in smaller areas are necessarily going to survive,”

♥  Paywalls also helped to shape 2011 as newspaper publishers continued to experiment with the model in hopes of making money from websites. This included the New York Times, Commercial Appeal and Richmond TimesDispatch, to name a few.

♥  Newspaper staffs are getting leaner and younger these days. The ink-stained wretch has been replaced by the digital savvy geek. We are seeing more and more editors in their 20s and 30s who have a grasp of the importance of digital and social media.


♥  TV is using the Internet to serve the role newspapers once served.

♥  Although new media practices are definitely on the rise, the television industry also returned to its roots in 2011 with a resurgence in investigative journalism. In Washington, D.C., NBC-owned station WRC-TV announced in October that it would be putting together an investigative reporting team. Meanwhile, Scripps Television sent staff members to training and hired new employees to add more investigative journalism to its local stations.

Social Media

♥  Aside from some of the challenges social media has posed to the traditional industry, many journalists and outlets have fully embraced the benefits of social media and are enthusiastically putting it to use

♥  There is no doubt the New York Times is one of, if not the, most influential newspapers in the country and its staff understands that. Everyone seems to tweet – editors, reporters, specific sections. Andrew Ross Sorkin, business reporter and columnist, has over 360,000 followers, Paul Krugman, op-ed columnist, has over 670,000 followers and op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof has just over a million. The most-followed New York Times staffer is technology columnist David Pogue with over 1.3 million.

The impact for Public Relations and Corporate Affairs (Public Affairs) Pros

♥  Know that social media is a means to an end and not the end in itself. This is how the media are thinking of it – a platform, not a product. Social media is one of many platforms of communications and establishing relationships.

♥  Despite the fabulous changes in technology, all the old rules of being a human should still apply. Treat people as individuals, which is what editors and reporters are. Be polite: introduce yourself first and ask questions later.

♥  Invest in an iPhone or iPad or both. It’s hard to promote your clients on a platform you don’t know firsthand. And please, please do not send pitches out over social media platforms.

♥  Although a journalist’s medium preference for receiving pitches varies, several polls and surveys have found that the majority of reporters still favor email. Social media is a good way to get to know reporters, but it is not the most preferred way to pitch.

♥  Although journalists often use social media to gather sources or story ideas, the typical news release is still valuable.

♥  But social media has also upped the ante, so there is no way around it: if you’re not using social media, you should be. …you must become part of the community and the conversation. Do this by following reporters and commenting on their stories. Get to know their coverage area. Also, be sure you are interacting online with the people who you want to receive your message.

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