Modern PR: The Media’s Changing… with You or Without You

Despite some reports to the contrary, the media is not dying. But there are dramatic changes taking place and, chances are, this is not completely news to you.

As PR pros, most of us have seen long-time relationships with key reporters end as they get laid off and move on. Advertising’s place in the marketing mix is coming into question as traditional media’s reach fragments and shrinks. Certainly, no discussion of modern PR today is complete without a look at the state of the media industry.

If you’re among those who’ve been burying their heads in the sand over the implications of these changes, I’m here to rally you out of complacency.  PR is going to look very different 10 years from now… with you or without you. For those of us who are independent, it’s critical that we adjust.

The News About the News
Though we know it’s ugly out there, it’s important to look at how far this really goes, because it has an inextricable effect on PR and marketing. The actual numbers for traditional media sobering. An important study by Pew Research Center found that the Internet has officially overtaken newspapers as a source for news, and among young people under 30, it’s close to surpassing even television.

While there was a time when we referred to “mainstream media,” traditional media is no longer “mainstream.” And with so many journalists getting pink slips, the Internet is gaining even more prestigious reporters who are now choosing to communicate via new media – blogs.

Amid this evolution (some would say revolution), the fact that there are sources dedicated exclusively to chronicling the media outlets in decline is telling, and many thought leaders are looking at the future of new versus “legacy media.” If you’re a PR professional, your future depends on monitoring the effects of these advancements and counseling your clients accordingly.

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom – this new era offers organizations and PR professionals unprecedented opportunities. We no longer have to rely solely on the journalists as gatekeepers to relay our information to the public. Obviously, journalists and their inherent third party credibility continue to play an important role (and Internet-based news is still news), but companies and organizations can now also speak (and converse) directly with their customers and potential customers.

So, where exactly will PR be in 10 years? I don’t think anyone can honestly tell you that. But we can say that Modern PR means evolving, adapting and embracing new challenges through self-education.

If you haven’t yet embraced social media, now is the time to at least become familiar. The next post in the Modern PR series will look at the marriage of PR and social media, into what some call PR 2.0.

What do you think? Are you finding that some PR pros are resistant to change?

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Photo credit: Yea I Knit