What You Need to Know about the Changing Media Landscape


Your organization is about to launch a new product or initiative, and you’re ready to share your news with the world!

STOP. Before you reach out to any media outlet, journalist or editor, you need to understand the changes that have impacted the media landscape. Here’s what you need to know:

There are fewer journalists.

Due to the decline of advertising and subscription revenue in the digital age, media outlets have reduced their newsroom staff. In 2008, American news outlets employed around 70,000 journalists. Today, that number is roughly 37,000.

Now, journalists have twice as much work to do in a very short timeframe, so don’t expect them to go the extra mile for you. If you want them to cover your story, you have to be patient, prompt, and available.

Short attention spans abound!

Social media inundates users with hundreds of stories, photos, and videos every day. To get their readers’ attention, journalists need stories that cut through the noise.

That means your organization’s news has to be…newsworthy! Ask yourself, why would this reporter and his or her readers care? If you cannot answer that question, you might not be ready to contact media.  

Segmented Media

In efforts to attract subscribers, many media outlets have transitioned from general content to targeted content for a specific location, industry, age group, gender, life stage, income level, political affiliation, and/or race.

Before you pitch a story, make sure it aligns with the journalist’s beat(s) and the publication’s target audience. Editors and reporters respond to people who do their homework.

It’s not just words anymore.

The days of long, wordy news stories with no pictures are long gone. Today, media outlets are looking to engage their readers in a variety of methods. For instance, The New York Times not only publishes a daily paper, but a weekday podcast (“The Daily”) and weekly television show (“The Weekly”).

When reaching out to journalists, think of how your story could be told through multiple mediums. Have pictures, audio, and/or videos ready!

Don’t forget about bloggers.

Years ago, blogs were no more than weekend hobbies. Today, bloggers play a vital role in the media landscape. They have vibrant personalities and notable expertise, not to mention loyal followings that rival some traditional publications.

The takeaway? Sometimes a blogger is the best person to tell your story. Consider pitching them instead of a traditional news outlet.  

The reality is that the media landscape has changed dramatically in recent years and it will continue to evolve. However, as long as you understand and stay ahead of these changes, you can build relationships with journalists and use media to tell your story and further your business goals.

If you need help in navigating the constantly-changing media landscape with your public relations efforts, AFFIRM is here to help! Please contact us for more information.


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