Maybe it’s whistling past the graveyard or maybe, indeed, Gannett’s The Advertiser in Lafayette, Indiana, is positioning itself for “vibrant coverage of a vibrant community for the next 150 years.” You can’t help but sense at least a bit of anxiety in a statement by Cindy McCurry Ross, the paper’s executive editor, on its revamping plans, or maybe its survival plan.
Whichever, public relations people need to recognize – as most probably do already – that newspaper editors and their staffs (and TV producers, too, as we’ve noted) are under a good deal of anxiety these days as papers dwindle in heft and even numbers. (The Guardian has this headline: “New York Times slims down by 100 jobs, but it struggles to keep weight off.”)
Whatever PR people can do to make the jobs of newspaper people easier, we expect, will be appreciated in newsrooms. Probably they’re already doing that, for PR folks, by and large, are savvy people. But these two stories and others not hard to come by indicate how challenges for newspapers are growing in these digital times. They’ve got to survive on paper while they make the transition to new media forms. And the rules on the new terrain haven’t been fixed over 150 years of experience.
So be understanding (and helpful) in dealing with the reporters and editors important to you.
(Photo: Cindy McCurry Ross of the The Advertiser, Lafayette, Indiana
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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