Survey of journalists across EMEA reveals depth of crisis in media sector

Over the next 12-18 months, the media sector will continue to see a wave of new ventures and initiatives – both fromentrepreneurs entering the sector, as well as from existing media organisations. They will take advantage of the economic downturn to make – or accelerate – bold moves. The results will almost certainly create further shocks for media organisations that ‘didn’t see it coming’. While media continues to evolve so rapidly, the future for PR and media relations professionals is hard to read. Newopportunities for innovative PR will arise with every new media model or new technology that emerges. Every facet of media relations is digital today. Undoubtedly, the future will be even more so. The future will not be one of too little information but of far too much. The challenge for media relations professionals will be to offer journalists interesting content that stands out from the mass of other information they receive. And while the medium can never be the message, PR must rise to the challenge of using innovative digital tools to convey their stories instead of disseminating them through the old tried and tested methods. For example, many of the journalists surveyed said they no longer read newswires every morning to set their news agenda, but have instead switched to gathering information and new stories from tier-one blogs and Twitter.Despite this, from the responses of the journalists interviewed it is evident that the essential skills and best practices of media relations have not changed despite thetransformation of the industry itself. Indeed, if anything,they have become even more important than they were.There will be more need for creative story lines and stunts to gain media attention, and personal relationships with reporters will be more important than ever. The idea that media relations professionals could work facelessly with journalists was always an unsatisfactory one. Returning to old-fashioned reporter schmoozing will be the key to overcoming the barriers of too much information and too many contacts. But personal relationships will not trump content in the self-interested relationship that exists between PR consultants and journalists. Reporters will continue to favour media relations practitioners who helpthem do their jobs well, bringing them good story ideas and keeping them on their myriad new deadlines. All that being said, it is from the strikingly opposing views about new media that we can perhaps draw the most interesting conclusion from the BM media survey. There seems to be complete confusion and totally different interpretations within the industry about the role of new media. In a nutshell, new media is changing so radically and so rapidly that no-one really has any idea how it will beused, how it will evolve and where it will eventually end up.

Among the journalists interviewed, there was a mixture of both fear and attraction about new media and its eventualimpact on the industry as a whole. This presents the PR industry, in particular media relations practitioners,with a real opportunity.No longer do they need simply to work within an existing and long-established media environment – instead they have a real chance toshape its whole future. Imagine new media as a large motorway whose final planning has not yet been completed, but where the first kilometres are already laid down. No-one is quite sure where this highway is going, nor when it will finally befinished or even if it will ever be completed at all. What is unusual, though, is that we have an opportunity to influence the building process. We can mould and direct this new motorway to try to ensure that it ends up at adestination of our liking.

In the end, rather than just trying to predict the future of media, PR professionals have an unprecedented opportunityto help shape that future instead.

see the rapport :


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