Changing landscape of the news media

In case you missed it: The news media landscape as we once knew it is gone. While mistrust in national news grows, conglomerates are quietly dismantling local news. Across the country last year, media outlets and organizations laid off more than 20,000 people. That’s more layoffs in news media than in 2021 and 2022 combined.  

In our hometown of Tulsa, two television stations saw high profile layoffs at the end of 2023. KTUL, a legacy station that was once the highest rated in the market, saw its production and news staff gutted, with most of the production moving to Oklahoma City.

At KJRH, the longtime General Manager who is from and committed to Tulsa, was let go. Now, that experience is gone from a newsroom that is increasingly young, overworked and rotating in a churn of turnover. Years of journalistic integrity and connections walked out the door with these layoffs, and we are all worse off because of it. 

Believe it or not, all of these changes impact how businesses gain earned media and plan a media strategy. Media relations, media coverage and public perception are important tiers to brand awareness.

The 24-hour news cycle 

Today’s fallout stems from causes in the past century. First, the introduction of the the 24-hour news cycle changed news. CNN launched in 1980 as the first 24-hour news network in the world. News coverage was more than the headlines you saw in the morning paper or on your television at 5, 6 or 10 p.m.

However, most journalists thought this was a ridiculous idea. Why would there be a need to broadcast 24 hours a day? Then, CNN sent journalists around the globe. This changed everything.

They brought in around-the-clock news coverage of conflicts in Lebanon. They showed us the tragic moments of the Challenger Space Shuttle as it disintegrated in the air. Viewers had access to unprecedented live coverage of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq in 1991.

In 1996, MSNBC and FOX News launched, and the media world was once again changed. Our appetite for news grew stronger, and our desire for access to breaking news was hard to quench. 

Around the same time as the first CNN broadcast, the internet was a spark of innovation. It was in the mid-1990s when the news first started appearing online, and still a few more years before people started looking for their news online.

Now, most people get their news online. With newspapers making the switch from print to the internet, not as many people receive a newspaper on their front porch. Additionally, newspapers can charge far more for advertising in their printed papers than they can online. That has resulted in many papers closing their doors, and even more papers are cutting staff. 

So, what does this mean for you?  

Getting news coverage is more difficult than ever

We talk to clients each day that say, “The newspaper used to report…” and “This is a front-page story.” However, this is an outdated mindset in today’s digital world.

According to pew research, less than 9 percent of adults in the U.S. get their news regularly from print publications. On the flip side, nearly 56 percent of people get their news from social media platforms. Lastly, television news makes up only 30 percent of news consumption.  

The flip side of people getting their news online is the pile of misinformation. “Fake News” is the buzzword of the day, but the truth is anyone can create a website and claim to be a news source. They can take headlines of the day and make up information, news stories or data points. This leads to widespread confusion and mistrust of journalists. 

Does all of this mean that television news and newspapers are irrelevant? Absolutely not. A story placed on a newspaper’s website can be found on the internet for years, being shared and picked up by influencers and others who are interested in what you do. Getting a news outlet to cover your story is still an incredibly powerful, valuable tool. 

Plus, you have unprecedented access to those reporters through social media. The space between you and a media professional is just a couple of clicks on your computer. You can connect easily with not only local news media on Facebook or X, but also with national reporters.  

Keep in mind, your media contacts are busy and don’t always have time to respond. Don’t take it personally. A lot of them have topics or regions that are important to them. Do some research online to make sure they are the right person to contact.

Remember to always be kind. If you are critical or mean, they will remember you and may be unlikely to cover your story.  

Creating a news and media relations strategy

This is a lot of information to understand and digest, but it is all part of a media relations strategy. Resolute works in this space for clients every day, and it’s more than just sending a press release. First, our clients give us all the information of an upcoming event or brand update. Then, we take that information and mold it into a story that will get them attention and positive feedback.

The landscape of media may have changed, but we have evolved with it. We know how to get your stories past the inbox and onto the news.  

With limited staff and limited time, news outlets need you to bring your best story ideas. Here are our top four tips to get your story published in the news.

  1. Catch their attention. A creative, catchy and timely subject line is a must. What will make them open and read your email? 
  2. Keep it short. Write your email like you would write the story. What is the most important thing they need to know? Tell them in the first sentence, as that’s all they may have time to read.
  3. Contact the right person. Make sure you know what the reporter covers before you reach out. If you are tech company and you send your email to the reporter that covers entertainment, you’ve wasted your time and theirs.  
  4. Think about the imagery. Whether you’re trying to get a television story, a print story, or a blog published, what pictures and images will they show? Images will get your story noticed on social media, so you want it to be eye catching. 

Bonus: Once you get the news story published, be grateful, friendly and gracious. If you can build a relationship with the reporter, they are more likely to open your email next time.