The closure of many local newspapers, and the downsizing of many others, begs the question…Can Public Relations survive without the newspaper industry?
Surely the practice of Public Relations is more than just publicity and media relations. It’s many facets include employee relations, event planning, corporate communications, speech writing etc. Most PR pros understand that and practice it.
Still the media relations piece is the backbone of the industry. It is difficult to influence or change public opinion without the published word disseminated to hundreds or thousands of persons of a targeted audience.
Taking nothing away from television and radio, the impact and sustainability of a printed piece in the daily or weekly newspaper cannot be matched.
And we’re not talking about video of a fumbling politician or intoxicated film star. Most rank and file businesses and organizations have little opportunity to secure a spot on the evening news without breaking the law.
Even with a shrinking news hole the space and opportunity to tell a good newspaper story, in some detail, is still available.
The Internet provides other, in my opinion, lesser options. Yes you can read your newspaper online, providing someone is still publishing one in your city. Maybe even find other items you won’t see in print. And it’s free to everyone no matter where you are.
Still, on any given day, how many people are going to go to the newspaper site, click on a particular section, scan all the news, and click on your article?
My guess is that daily newspaper subscribers are most apt to scan their paper for news and information, and read most sections, than the casual online reader who might just want a weather forecast or score from a ball game.
Social networks provide another segmented communications opportunity. PR professionals are scrambling fast to learn how to use these tools appropriately.
Still, nothing can match the reach, impact and accessibility of the daily newspaper.
Should it ever go away the practice of Public Relations won’t die. It will just suffer a mighty wound.