Musical chairs and media relations

by Mar 5, 2019Pro Tips

people playing musical chairs

With all the downsizing and disruption in the media industry, reporters and editors today are in a constant game of musical chairs.

One of the hardest things about media relations today is keeping up with the constant turnover among reporters and editors at major news outlets.

The only constant in newsrooms today is change.

And as in a game of musical chairs, each time a reporter takes a seat at a news organization, somewhere in the circle a chair has been taken away.

A recent blog by Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics underscores this point. Schorsch took to the Internet to decry the lack of support at traditional news outlets for the coverage of veteran reporters like the AP’s Gary Fineout and the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Bosquet. Schorsch noted that with Fineout’s departure, just weeks before the start of Florida’s 2019 legislative session, the AP was down to one reporter in Florida – Brendan Farrington – covering state government.

“I guess there’s some irony in the fact that a digital-first, digital-only publisher like me is bemoaning what will become of newspapers’ coverage of state politics,” Schorsch said.

In a discussion of his recent move, Fineout described the phenomenon of the missing chairs in its simplest terms.

“Many traditional news organizations have had to scale back or eliminate their operations in Florida,” he said.

newspaper boy holding up a paper and speaking into a megaphone

Once formidable newspapers like the Tampa Tribune have gone the way of the newspaper boy with the rise of online-only media.

Fineout left the AP for Politico, and Bosquet is now a columnist for the Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel, both owned by Tribune Publishing. So while both are still important media contacts, they have new e-mail addresses and new editorial mandates.

That’s why a media list from a year, six months, or even one month ago is no longer much use.

Large organizations pay top dollar for services like Cision that keep up with changes across the national media landscape, but what of smaller companies and nonprofits that don’t have the budget or the scale to pay for access to that kind of media database?

screen showing email warning

Using a media list that is even a month out of date will result in an unacceptable number of bouncebacks.

The alternative is to do a little online research before sending out a press release using a stale media list that’s going to get little more than a bunch of bouncebacks.

The good news is, chances are you don’t need to keep up with changes across the entire U.S. media marketplace. More than likely you can narrow your targets to a manageable subset of reporters, editors and news outlets for which your news is relevant.

That’s where Relatable Communications Group comes in. We’ll not only write a great press release, but we’ll also devise a targeted media list and do the critical but often overlooked, up-to-the-minute research before sending it out to make sure that list is current.

In that way, we accomplish what the big, expensive media databases do, but on a scale that fits your needs and at a cost that fits your budget.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you keep up with the game of musical chairs that’s going on among your target media.

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