The Coronavirus has been the only news story in town since last Spring and in 2021 it will continue to dominate the news agenda.
Covid arrived as the media was already going through a painful process of transformation – shedding outdated ways of working to become a leaner and more credible threat to the internet giants who have hoovered up ad revenue and audience.
Today the newsroom is being reshaped beyond recognition, hundreds of jobs have been lost and outdated ways of working replaced. Without people on the move, the printed newspaper has declined. The metropolitan free dailies are the hardest hit and regional print is in danger of extinction.
The need for news
Meanwhile, locked in our homes since March 2020, we have devoured news like never before.
Broadcast viewing has soared and online news sites have proved essential reading with their minute-by-minute coverage of breaking developments.
Newspapers are truly digital first. Editors monitor traffic to sites continually, using analytics to identify online spikes in conversation and track surges in regional news partner sites and trade press to generate and amplify potential story hooks.
Journalists work to hourly content targets in a never ending churn of news, evaluated by the traffic each story brings, whilst readers act in pursuit of the information they desire, no longer loyal to a publication. And for brands a first position result for a breaking story on Facebook or Google is more desirable than a tantalising front page in the newsstands of old.
Through extensive off-the-record contributions from senior figures in the nation’s newsrooms, the team at Democracy have created a report that shows how Covid has sped up this digital transformation process.
The power of PR
What is clear from our findings is that PR has never been more important – but brands must adapt their PR strategies to remain at the forefront of the news agenda.
PR must do what it has always done – find new ways to shape the reputation of the companies and brands it serves by working with the changing priorities of journalists and digital influencers.
As always we need to find the stories that will make a meaningful difference and create the assets that smooth the path to publication. We must create content that resonates, creating a lasting digital footprint for our stakeholders – both now and in the future.
It has never been more important to get your communications strategy right. Are you ready?
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