Saturday, June 16, 2012

What the Times-Picayune downsizing means for PR pros

By now, most of you reading this blog know that the New Orleans Times-Picayune is cutting back the publication of its print product from seven days a week, to just three days a week, starting this fall.

Many articles published on the Internet, such as one recently published by John McQuaid in the Atlantic, suggest websites alone won't entirely replace daily newspapers.  That especially will be the case in New Orleans, which will soon become the first major metropolitan area in the United States without a daily newspaper.  Another post, written by Josh Stearns at, has more on what the upcoming downsizing will have on the future of journalism as a whole.

So, what will this move mean for public relations and other communications professionals?  For one thing, a reduced printing schedule means fewer opportunities, or days, if you will, to have key events publicized in the paper, but might create more chances to plug them online, as well as on mobile devices.  For those that have them, that is.

For instance, suppose a major employer were to come to--or at least expand to--a city like New Orleans? The announcement might come on Monday, however, people who rely solely on newspapers to get their news, and don't have a radio or television, or a computer to log on to, for that matter, likely would have to wait until Wednesday to find out that a new company is coming to town.

While the downsizing of the Times-Picayune might mean fewer print journalists at press conferences, it could open the door for PR pros to pitch their story ideas to online and broadcast journalists.  Plus, the seemingly constant growth of the Internet, social media, and other related digital media content will give PR people more chances to promote their product via their websites, blogs, and other channels.  

The bottom line?  It's time to think outside the box when it comes to pitching journalists who need to get the story out to the general public.

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