Why Traditional Media is King

I’m a huge fan of traditional media. As the owner of a public relations and communications company, I’m accustomed to using digital tactics, graphic design, strategic engagement and other methods to convey messages to critical audiences, but newspapers (and their electronic versions) are still the bastion of journalistic standards and high-quality reporting.

And much to Donald Trump’s chagrin, traditional media is still king. A king constantly in danger of the kingdom shifting dramatically under his feet, but king just the same.

Granted, I’m Generation X. My go-to outlets for news are the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (we receive the hard copy papers every morning at Vanguard), the Washington Post, the Detroit News and Free Press (after all, we are a Michigan-based company), Crain’s Detroit Business, MLive for online reading, paywall media like MIRS and Gongwer here in Lansing, and as many other outlets as time allows. I drive to and from work each day listening to public radio. I’ve learned to integrate Twitter into my day, receiving constant news breaking alerts on my mobile devices.

My partner, Jen Eyer, was a long-time employee of MLive and spent 20 years at the organization as they transitioned from a purely paper product to one delivered electronically more and more with every passing month.

The internet has vastly changed how we learn. Twenty-five years ago, the trick was finding information on a topic; today, the challenge is using your personal filter to determine the truth. This equation – in my opinion – contributes greatly to the reasons we feel more disconnected from each other than ever before, but that’s a topic for another blog.

Even in the changing media landscape we now live in, I’m a proponent of telling public relations students to spend a little time in the beginning part of their careers at news outlets that generally requires a journalism degree, so you can understand the rhythm of traditional media and how newsrooms function.

The maxims are still true – all newsrooms start from zero each day. All reporters have to generate stories by talking to sources. Readership (or viewership) is important – it always has been. Reporters don’t sit around their cubicles each day rubbing their hands together, gleefully determining who they will target each day. Newsrooms receive hundreds of news releases, alerts, media advisories and contacts – and it’s a trained journalist’s job to separate the wheat from the chaff to determine what content appears on their particular medium.

Despite the internet’s impact, news cycles are still driven by traditional media outlets. Get to know the reporters around you and do your best to cultivate relationships that respect their deadlines while answering their phone calls. It’s the best way to be successful for your clients.

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