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Journalism has changed drastically over the years. Understanding this change is vital to your success in the media.


Short on Time

In recent years, newspaper layoffs became more and more frequent, particularly at some of the nation’s largest and most respected papers.

Newspapers now face a dilemma – a large amount of stories to write with fewer people to write them. This trend has led to reporters covering multiple topics and becoming spread thin when it comes to content.

When working with reporters, it’s important to be understanding. They may not respond to an email right away or answer your first phone call. Be patient. More often than not, they’re not ignoring you. They’re working on another story, trying to meet deadlines, and talking to other sources and editors.

If you want your story told, make yourself available to reporters. When you reach out, make sure they have your contact info, and if applicable, give them times you’re available to talk. If you respect their time, they’ll be more likely to respect yours.

Looking for Sources

With more stories to write, reporters are pressed to find adequate sources in a limited amount of time. An expert source or the perfect person for the story won’t always be available, leading reporters to get creative to meet deadlines.

Although not always ideal, reporters can use social media to find and contact sources. This works in certain cases. For example, media outlets can use video from a social media user who was one of the first people to see an accident.

Short on time and resources, reporters can settle on a source. The source may not be the most qualified to speak on the topic or have the information needed to make the story complete.

With this in mind, it’s vital to ensure your business or organization is part of the story. Misinformation can spread easily through both online news and social media – making it paramount to have your voice in the media. 

Switch to Social 

Before social media, print and TV news outlets were the go-to place to find daily and breaking news. According to a 2018 survey, nearly 70% of Americans viewed news on social media, with the majority using mobile devices to do so.

Reporters actively use social media to break news, promote stories, and interact with their audience. To stay on top of the news, make sure you’re following reporters who cover your industry. 

When appropriate, interact with media outlets on Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t have an email or phone number for a reporter, these platforms can be a starting point for contact with media outlets and reporters. Reaching out on social media can lead to a beneficial relationship between your business and that specific reporter.

Social media allows you to spread your message without always having to be in a story. Reporters routinely share and retweet news or press releases from businesses and organizations, rather than writing a full story. 

At Sinclair, we understand the importance of media relations and have spent decades building relationships that help us tell our clients’ stories. Let us help you tell yours. 

Sinclair Public Affairs

Author Sinclair Public Affairs

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