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The Evolution of Journalism Part 2

Two weeks ago I said that anyone can develop newsworthy content for their own communication channels (social media, blogs, web, e-newsletters, video, etc.). Self-generated content directly competes for the consumer’s “mind share”.

This time I’ll focus on the important relationship between PR professionals and traditional media.

First things first. It’s important to realize that newsrooms obtain and develop content in a variety of ways and through a number of sources:

  1. Reporter-generated content. These are stories that reporters discover and share with the general public.
  2. Content that organizations and PR professionals relay to reporters.
  3. Content published by government and disclosed at public meetings.
  4. Content that comes from consumer tips.
  5. Content that is driven by overriding events (war, municipal bankruptcy, legal actions, weather emergencies, etc.)

When you add it all up, news organizations have many, many sources competing for a very limited amount of newspaper space, TV and radio news time, web space, etc. That means they can afford to be very choosy and strategic over what news they use. At the same time, as news organizations continue to reduce staff and contract, reporters generally have very little time to deeply develop stories that have impact.

Maybe that’s why over the years, really good reporters and editors have forged good trust relationships with high-integrity PR professionals – the ones that understand what a good news story must have: immediate relevance; a strong story line; data to support the story; more than one source to consider to develop the story well.

PR pro’s represent a source – a window – into the content that reflects initiatives from  businesses, not for profit organizations, and government entities.

But beware! Journalists don’t like being PR “pitched” stories that aren’t well thought out, have no news value, and are grossly self-serving. So they need to research and take interest in what reporters write about and look back on articles the reporter’s written in the past.

Successful PR pro’s don’t just think about what they and their clients want to see in print – they also think about what reporters and editors need in order to tell a strong story that’s relevant and meaningful to many readers and viewers.


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