Journalism is changing, PR pros must adapt

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News is Thriving


You've probably heard by now that many people consider traditional newspapers a dying breed. Thinking about the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that kind of comment seems laughable. Within the walls of the major metropolitan newspaper, it is all hustle and bustle with no signs of slowing down.

Neal Justin, a television and media critic at the Star Tribune, describes the lively environment in which he works.

"A lot of people on the phone, a lot of people writing fervently, people in meetings..." says Justin. "It's unpredictable, sometimes it's quiet, and sometimes it's the Wild West."

The Transition

It isn't a secret that most news content is now hosted on online platforms in addition to physical newspapers. But as the transition continues to progress, journalists are constantly tethered to their desks posting on social media sites and updating web content. They are stretched thin, and for some, it can be difficult.

Justin sums up the transition elegantly, "It's an interesting time for journalism. It can be fun, but it can be frustrating."

Media Relations Tips


Almost half of his story ideas come from public relations pitches. Justin says that he tends to gravitate towards professionals who know how a journalist's job works. He urges that PR pros do their research.

"When somebody calls or emails, they better have a solid story idea. Be respectful of my time and realize that I have a hundred pitches a day. We work ahead of schedule." says Justin.

It seems that traditional journalism is taking a new form in every department. The pace of the profession has become faster due to technological innovations. Now that people are able to keep up with events in real time no matter where they live through social media, news content needs to be produced in a similar fashion. Public relations professionals need to take this into account when pitching.

"Deadlines are so different with online. We're constantly updating throughout the day. Always on deadline." says Justin.

Read some of Neal Justin's freshest content here:

Follow Neal on Twitter: @nealjustin

Review websites are the future, learn and embrace them

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The Big Picture.

As I ponder what the public relations industry will be like when I graduate in 2014, two words come to mind: review websites.

It seems that we are in the middle of a cultural shift within the public relations world as we focus on not only gaining positive attention from big time reporters, but also the average joe walking down the street with his iPhone.

The power is shifting, and we need to monitor where it is going.

Recently, several review sites have emerged that allow anyone to post their personal opinions on organizations, products and services. Major sites like,, Twitter, and the all powerful Facebook have each become hubs of consumer reviews that could potentially have major impact on an organization's reputation.

And people are following. According to a 2012 Local Consumer Review Study, "Approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business."

More information on this study can be found on a blog post by Myles Anderson on Search Engine Land:

So, being in the business of reputation management, this trend leads me to believe that our target audiences have been greatly increased in size. We need to focus on everyone that has been a part of our organization and do what we can to keep them satisfied. A difficult task, but it will be highly beneficial to who we work for.

The Dark Side.

With all of these sites providing the option of anonymity, what's to stop a communications professional from writing reviews for their organization and manufacturing false opinion? I guess what I need to do here is call upon all of you fellow strategic communicators to adhere to our ethical codes. Be smart about what you are doing on the internet. Sure, we want positive reviews to be the foundation for positive reputations, but cheating to get them will only reduce the quality of our profession.