Godin Offers Take On Newspapers’ Future

Evidence of the decline of newspapers–as we now know them, anyway–is all around us, both locally and nationally.

Pioneer Press, the chain of weekly newspapers that has been around for more than a century, just shut down a dozen of its papers throughout the Chicago region. Last week, three Pioneer editors I have been in regular touch with the past two years were among 10 top editors who received pink slips.

Amid that dour news, I recently came across “When newspapers are gone, what will you miss?” a blog post featuring some refreshing insights from marketing maven Seth Godin.

One point he makes about journalism, and which I wholeheartedly agree with: “Punchline: if we really care about the investigation and the analysis, we’ll pay for it one way or another.”

Still very much in flux: just what that business model will look like.

PR Aimed At Local Newspapers: Alive & Well

In yet another piece of News That Isn’t Really News comes a recent report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Pew asked more than 1,000 folks where they got “most of” their national and international news. In 2008, the Internet eclipsed print newspapers as their primary news source.

You can see more detail here in a New York Times blog.

Local news, however, is a different beast. For one thing, local publications don’t have a user-friendly (or even, in some cases, any) website. More significantly, however, local news is a much more intimate, day-to-day relevant resource than national and international news.

While the future of major newspapers is cloudy, I am most optimistic about the fortunes of local publications that do a solid job of covering their own communities. From a PR perspective, it is crucial to recognize how to tailor news releases and story suggestions with that specific smaller geographic focus in mind.

For example, if you have five people, from five different communities in the same metro region who have benefited from a given company’s service, then the same type of story can be pitched to at least five (and sometimes even more) distinct publications.

Increasingly, this has been a most fruitful approach for our clients at Inside Edge PR. We regularly secure multiple “media hits,” each one of which is targeted to an audience that is actually in a position to take action that benefits the client (for example, becoming a new patient of a given practitioner.)