What a declining number of journalists means for PR pros

Reporters are more stretched for time than ever. Here’s how to make sure you’re sending your pitch to someone who will listen.

Recent information from The Pew Research Center revealed that the number of current working journalists is the lowest it has been since at least 1978. As of 2012, the total newsroom workforce in America was just 38,000, compared to 55,000 just 6 years earlier in 2006. Simply put, newsrooms have been devastated by layoffs in recent years, and many journalists have been forced to find new lines of work.

But what does all of this mean for you, the PR person?

  • You must keep your media list updated. A media list is only useful if it’s accurate and up to date. With so many newsrooms getting shaken up, it’s important that you take a look at your list and make it current. This will help ensure your press releases reach the right people so you have a chance of earning coverage.
  • Reporters are covering more areas than before. Today’s reporter is forced to wear more hats. In the past, certain reporters may have been dedicated solely to covering your industry. Now, the reporters who cover your industry probably also cover several other industries as well. They might not have the level of understanding of your industry that you’re expecting, and with so many other stories competing for their attention, getting your story noticed could be more difficult than it used to be.
  • Reporters are busier than ever before. Because reporters are wearing more hats and the same volume of work is divided amongst fewer of them, the simple fact is that the remaining working reporters are insanely busy. They’re constantly up against a deadline, and they don’t have time for anything that takes them away from their job. That means your pitches need to be short and to the point, and you need to make it as easy as possible for reporters to cover your story.

What are some other important considerations in light of the recent decline in working reporters? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.


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