#PRFAIL: Beware: A Global News Force

Reporter. Taking notes.

The old saying that I tell everyone is: “Knowledge is power.”

Knowledge is the backbone from which people, professionally and socially, make their decisions. Poor decisions are made from a lack of knowledge, or bad knowledge, and good decisions are made when a proper amount of knowledge is known – and it is factual and helpful.

Knowledge is one of the basic cornerstones of life and something that should be sought after with intense vigor.

But as we live in a world where the media and social media are in a constant state of flux, the ways of which we obtain knowledge are quickly changing.

In the beginning of November, publishing companies DNAinfo and Gothamist were discontinued and therefore their connecting companies were as well. Some of these companies were local news reporting websites under the -ist moniker. The LAist, The Chicagoist, DCist and SFist were all closed. (1) LA has lost 116 reporters because of this. While that may seem marginal because it’s a major metropolitan city, think of it like this: each of those reporters put out at least one article every day. That’s 116 articles a day and 580 a week, per writer. But we know better. They actually put out more per day. At any one time, a journalist can be working on 7-10 articles per day. We deal with tens of thousands of journalists in a given week and we are seeing this all over North America and the world. So that is a bevy of information that will now not be shared and communicated with the public of LA.

The story, told by ex-editor-in-chief of The LAist, told the story of getting a text message over her lunch period telling her to check her inbox. As she did so, she saw her co-workers struggling to get on their website to post their work. She found an email from their CEO letting them all know the company was discontinued. (What a way to find out you were out of a job!)

It’s unfortunate that people lost their job, especially since the companies were apparently in the black financially and taking sacrifices in their personal lives to make ends meet at these companies. (NOTE: something doesn’t jive with that – conflicting data: in the black financially so you shut down?) It’s no surprise that news outlets are figuring out how to cope with a never-changing business model, but these local reporters’ passions were allowing them to find out how to keep the ship afloat.

Local news is an art. Local reporters comment, inform and communicate what’s going on in their local areas in intimate ways that bigger publishers can’t cover in the same way. That isn’t a dig to them- it’s just not realistic that a global news firm could report with the intimacy and accuracy of a local or regional area like a journalist who is “on the ground.” A person who lives in the heart of downtown Dallas, Texas and is connected to all aspects of it from local government to the guy who owns a BBQ spot on W. Davis Street will have a better finger on the pulse of a community than anyone sent from a big publisher who lives in Chicago.

These reporters also do a great job at showing how national issues will affect their smaller communities. A perfect example of this is a 2016 report in which researchers found that a drop in local news coverage resulted in a drop in citizen engagement in politics. (2)

Our PR Take on It: I understand that the closing of these local news outlets around the country mainly comes down to money and I’m not going to sit here and shake my finger at anybody for making a financial decision. However, there is going to be a void left from these local reporters no longer providing the information from the local markets. And what is going to happen in that void?  Just like anything in life – the void will be filled.  Nature abhors a vacuum. This void will be filled by new media outlets and methods of communication because people are ravenous for information; now seemingly more than ever. These voids won’t be left unfilled.

The main reason I say BEWARE is simple: With the big publications dishing out hundreds of articles hourly, how well do you know the media and its depiction of you and your local area? While it already is important to know how the media works, in a very short time period it is going to become vital for your business to understand media and know how to navigate the waters around it. No longer will you be able to sit behind the keyboard of the local news reporter commenting on what your business is doing or what is affecting your area. You’re going to have to create that news yourself or let the misinformation drown you.

Do something about it. Create your news and get it published. The media is growing exponentially daily. Publications are doubling their circulation in two months-time on a regular basis, and new pubs are popping up everywhere. I mean that literally. And while some local pubs are shutting down, global pubs are popping up. Keep local alive and do your part to ensure you are in the news communicating YOUR solutions to the problems that face people and businesses today. Use the power of communication for good.

Which leads me to our purpose here at JoTo PR:

JoTo PR Purpose:  To make a significant impact on the economy and the news by helping businesses get their message out in volume to millions of people about solutions, services and products that will help people and companies grow, expand and thrive.

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