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Corporates and the changing journalism landscape

With Fairfax and News Corp recently announcing a new round of up to 200 staff redundancies, this ongoing media restructuring will not only affect how we receive news but also alter the relationship between journalists and PR professionals.

Fewer reporters at particular media outlets can result in a greater reliance on press releases, newswires and readily available news packages. For while there are fewer journalists, there can be an increased demand for more volume and news updates across a number of convergent platforms.

These content pressures, in addition to journalists having less time to actively seek out news material, has made hunting for content a harder task. As a result, some media outlets may turn to ready-made stories that can be either be localised or syndicated across various print and online news platforms.

It is now estimated that approximately 80 per cent of all news stories have some component that originates from a press release or media statement, highlighting the relationship between journalist and PR professionals.

In an evolving market now saturated with free online news, social media and citizen bloggers, news is increasingly transforming into more of a collaborative process that involves information from government, companies and PR professionals, which in return is analysed and disseminated by journalists.

Technology is the primary catalyst for this change.  We have an almost endless source of websites, social media accounts and online news sources to choose from. At the same time, governments and companies are now very accustomed to self-publishing, creating their own online newsrooms and other tools that communicate directly to their stakeholders.

However it would be unwise to herald the demise of journalism altogether. Media still plays a pivotal role in shaping public perceptions and setting government and corporate agendas. And while some of the larger players restructure, there has been a growth of niche, industry-specific media outlets, particularly online.

Ultimately, journalists, news producers and editors still want to work with those who can help them produce relevant news for their audiences. In turn, this presents an opportunity for PR professionals, and others, to prove their ability to provide meaningful and timely information and story ideas.