How will Newsroom Layoffs Impact PR?

Stories about newsroom layoffs used to be relegated to trade publications, but these journalism job cuts are now becoming part of the news. If you thought it was hard to place a story with the media before – suit up: it’s going to get even harder.

This new economic landscape is going to require different skills to navigate shrinking newsrooms. Many of the producers and writers you might have relied on in the past might be gone. It’s one of the reasons why I always say media contacts are not a strategy; they are an assist. Journalists know their editorial acumen is under the microscope and all ideas will be scrutinized more in that morning news meeting. No one wants to pitch a story that is half-baked or not ready for coverage.

So how can you adapt to the changing media landscape?

Ensure your story package is complete. Don’t add unnecessary resources or time to a reporter’s job. Make it easy on them. Get that character lined up before you pitch and don’t force the reporter to think about how to frame the story. You might not get additional time for follow-up questions if the reporter is juggling 5 stories at once. The bar to coverage will be lifted and niche stories will be the first to get rejected.

Media Coverage Will Shift Towards Harder News in 2024

I’m also predicting the media will take a shift towards hard news in 2024. With upcoming elections at both the local and national levels, newsrooms will want to run more timely and hard-hitting angles that don’t give any hint of opinion. Soft news stories are the first to get rejected when resources are tight. If your client doesn’t have a hard news angle, look deeper and ask more questions.

As Executive Producer of Special Projects with NBC in New York, my staff and budget were slashed several times. This had a direct impact on our ability to produce news and get stories on the air. The producers who remained were typically multi-talented with skills that could cover a broad array of topics. As newsrooms shrink, these journalists will get more assignments and their power will rise. Those who can write under deadline and cover complicated issues will likely have the best chances of getting your story coverage.

Hopefully this newsroom trend is only cyclical but inside I worry we are facing a secular trend. Consumers have more options and are more fragmented. The best publicists and strategic thinkers will identify new ways to reach them and elevate your brand along the way. After all, everyone is still reading. They’re just not reading the same thing.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with Entrepreneur, CNBC and Forbes. City & State Magazine named him to their 2024 Political PR Power List in New York.

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