Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do Newspapers' Woes Present PR Opportunities?

As newspapers struggle to keep publishing, I have to wonder if the situation opens more doors for publicists. My daily is a Gannett paper; Gannett has ordered weeklong unpaid furloughs for staffers. Fewer people at the newspaper office can mean fewer journalists cranking out stories each day. And yet, the newspaper still needs content, right?

My newspaper recently added a weekly column on spirituality in the Living section; it is written by a member of the community. Whatever she's paid -- if anything -- doesn't come close to the paycheck of a staff writer. Yesterday, the paper ran a large feature on a local TV personality's favorite books. The byline was "staff reports" but the staff component was probably just the two-sentence intro and the time it took to e-mail the anchorwoman with the request and copy and paste her response into the system. See the pattern?

It seems to me that my newspaper -- and probably yours -- is probably more open than ever to content from people who aren't on staff. It has to be relevant, interesting and well-written to be considered -- for sure -- and if you can provide that in a journalistic style, then you might have an opportunity to communicate your message in a highly effective way.

Give it some thought. Maybe you can help keep my daily -- and yours -- from disappearing.

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