Reality Check: 4 media trends that might surprise you

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The evolution of the media industry is often a conversation fraught with negativity. From the termination of reporters who have been in the industry for years to the elimination of print publications, it can be hard to find a positive angle to the “news about the news.”

However, there are a number of trends that might surprise even the most seasoned media veterans. By following these developments and knowing how to take advantage of them, PR professionals can help their clients remain relevant and allow their content to have real staying power.

  1. Popularity of local TV news: Despite iPhones and tablets providing constant and immediate access to breaking news, more than half (55 percent) of U.S. adults say they consume their news on television, with local TV broadcast remaining the primary choice. Given these statistics, it’s important to remember that there are often broadcast opportunities right in your own backyard. International news topics, for example, can be applied to your local landscape, such as how falling oil prices can impact consumers or what the volatility in China could mean for your retirement portfolio.
  1. Digitization of news reporting: Robos are not just invading the advisor space, they’re taking over newsrooms, too. While many never thought news reporters could be replaced by technology, there are some cases where this is happening already. Reporters are using algorithms to help them expand coverage, engage audiences, and respond to breaking news. The New York Times recently developed one such robo called Blossom, which sorts through the performance of the Times’ daily stories on social media and determines which articles will receive the most traction. It also searches old content for stories related to breaking news that might be worth re-sharing. Blossom posts get about 380 percent more clicks than a typical non-Blossom post.
  2. Growing election staffs: Journalist layoffs have been a huge story dominating headlines across the country. But as we prepare for the 2016 election, many publications are actually amping up their staffs. CNN has doubled its political reporting team and Bloomberg has added two dozen people to a new unit dedicated to national politics. Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, told The Washington Post that CNN will “spend more money on the 2016 campaign than on any campaign in history.” This is where newshacking can be key to a PR strategy. Given the appetite for election-related news, reporters will be seeking expert sources to comment on the potential impact candidates’ economic policies could have on retirement, college savings and Social Security, to name a few.
  3. Established players leading the change: There seems to be a common belief that the emergence of new media outlets (whether it be high-circulation blogs or social media), is pushing traditional media outlets to the wayside. This is not the case. Top-tier outlets remain at the head of the pack in terms of innovating their platforms and providing viewers and readers with the most up-to-date means of consuming content. Outlets such as The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Washington Post and The Associated Press continue to evolve by growing their digital platforms. They also understand the importance of catering their content to digital landscapes, whether it be mobile or video, in order to foster stronger engagement with their audience.

As consumer desires and behavior continue to drive the media’s evolution, successful outlets will chase new audiences and employ new tactics to keep up with their changing preferences. When trying to place a client’s story into this fast-paced news cycle,  financial services PR professionals must understand the different forces shaping the media landscape. But don’t forget, these trends are not always exactly as they appear.