5 ways journalists can adapt to shrinking newsrooms
Though there are ways that we as PR professionals can adjust to this shift, journalists are whom the change affects the most. Though still rewarding, it’s a challenging industry to be part of--now more than ever because it’s changing at an accelerated pace.
But this change, challenge, and movement can be a huge opportunity.
Here are five ways reporters can adapt to shrinking newsrooms.
1. Continue to write the stories, not just the headlines. One of the challenges of journalism is the influence and availability of data: click rates, page views, shares, etc. If a story is not engaging (business journalism), it may not receive as much attention as a story that is considered “clickbait” (entertainment journalism). From a reader and a public’s perspective, one of the best things reporters can continue to do--and push for--is to tell the stories that deserve to be told. Journalism is meant to inform and educate and even if the number of authors is reducing, we need people to tell those stories.
2. Invest time in building relationships. Even though there are less people in the newsroom, the amount of stories remain the same (if not increase). Reporters are swamped. But one of the best ways to invest limited time is to build stronger and new relationships with communications contacts. These are the people who will be accessible when you’re in a time crunch or when you need a source to speak with.
3. Tell PR pros what you’re working on. One of the most helpful emails I’ve seen is from a reporter whose newsroom experienced a lot of changes. Usual sources of intel about newsrooms weren’t sharing updates about beats and initiatives fast enough--we didn’t know who or what we should share with reporters. One day, we received an email from a reporter about what she was now covering, a new initiative, and who she was looking to speak with. Since then, we were able to offer sources and information that helped her write great stories and meet her goals.
4. Build a strong personal brand. During a panel event I attended earlier this year with some of the top business journalists, they said that a reporter’s well-rounded personal brand is more important than even. This includes writing, reporting, anchoring, and tweeting--basically doing it all. This helps increase visibility, credibility, and name recognition. Some of the ways to start or continue building a strong personal brand are listed in tips #1, #2, and #3 above!
5. Consider a career move. In last month’s post, I wrote that PR professionals should give new digital outlets more credit. The same goes for reporters when considering a career move. Another option to consider is to make a career switch to (deep breath!) PR. As a reporter, you get to tell the stories that deserve to be heard. But when you work in PR, you have the opportunity to help tell a company or a person’s story that deserves to be heard.
Julia Sahin works in corporate communications for financial services at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She was the first to publish academic research about regulation, reputation, and banks. She plans on doing big things. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s. Connect with her on Twitter.
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