In 2009, newspapers died. According to Business Insider, in that year alone, 105 newspapers shut down, and 10,000 jobs were cut. The narrative is well-tread, and while newspapers never fully rebounded (and most likely will not), there are more than a handful to have successfully rolled out a subscription- or paywall-based model.
Without delving into the genuine need for local news (which is too real), and without psychoanalyzing the behavioral shifts that led to this point (which are vast and too open-ended), we can instead look at the value that we, as PR professionals, place on localized media outlets.
Most clients want the pizzazz that comes with a headline from a top news organization, like Wall Street Journal, New York Times or Washington Post. On the tech side, it’s the TechCrunches and VentureBeats of the world. However, unless the client has a focused message and a strong news hook, it can be a lesson in futility to chase hits that can take months to develop – and depending on the client, may never pop.
Some of the best reporting in the United States is being done at the local level. These are the reporters who understand the power of the people. They ask insightful questions, and they have a nose for getting to the root of story. For a company looking to build its narrative profile, local media can be an excellent opportunity to do the critical blocking and tackling that it takes to establish a foundation. It can also function as a groundswell tactic to not only seed keywords but ensure that other reporters and outlets are picking up on the story as well.
Local media can be a hard sell for certain clients. And, to be fair, for bigger clients, unless it’s a human-interest angle, your success will be determined by your ability to nail down the whales. But, for the others, it can absolutely be worth your time to do the extra research and legwork to sell the opportunity. This is not to say that pitching local is always a slam dunk. As mentioned above, the reporters are quick to call out BS, or a flimsy hook – a sure way to immediately kill trust before it even has a chance to set roots.
If we think about it from an ecosystem perspective, then the importance of local media is amplified. In order for the large publications and outlets to do what they do best, which is reach wide audiences, then local publications need to be able to cover the beats close to home. Not to mention, the less attention smaller publications get, the more likely they are to shutter, killing more jobs and constricting the news market even further. It is a symbiotic relationship between the two, and it is in our industry’s best interest to place the appropriate value on both.
Let’s take a look at this month’s media on the move.
Media on the Move
Compiled by Georgina Rupp
- Anthony Mason, a senior national correspondent and CBS veteran, and Tony Dokoupil, another correspondent, replaced Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson, on CBS This Morning.
- Norah O’Donnell will be joining CBS Evening News as the anchor and managing editor, replacing Jeff Glor.
- John Dickerson is moving to 60 Minutes.
- Trevor Curwin has left RTInsights to head up the Intelligence practice at Momenta Partners. Replacing him will be new Editor-in-Chief Joe Maglitta.
- Lindsey Benoit has left Hearst after three years to join Thrive Global as Deputy Editor, Entertainment + Partnerships.
- Eric Savitz returns to Barron’s for his third tour as Associate Editor, writing about technology investing and Silicon Valley.
- The publication has also appointed three new editorial directors: Beverly Goodman as Editorial Director, Investing, and Asset Management, Dan Hirschhorn as Editorial Director, Digital, and Phil Roosevelt as Editorial Director, Magazine.
Brit + Co:
- The digital media brand let go the majority of its staff after acquisition talks fell through
Denver Business Journal:
- Jensen Werley, formerly of BizWest, has joined the Denver Business Journal as technology and health care reporter.
Stacey on IoT:
- Stacey Higginbotham, editor and founder, is moving to Seattle this summer.
The Improper Bostonian:
- The publication closed in April after nearly 28 years in business.
- Condé Nast has sold Golf Digest to Discovery Inc. and Brides to Dotdash. Condé Nast put up three publications for sale last year and is still looking for a buyer for W.
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