Too often, public relations
professionals believe the information flow in this
business is one-way: from companies to the media.
However, the recent FCC ruling that relaxes media
ownership requirements should have PR pros asking as
many questions as they answer. (FULL STORY)
Considered the most sweeping
deregulation decision in decades, this latest FCC
decision has opened the door to large media companies
expanding their ownership in local markets. The ruling
raises TV ownership limits and loosens restrictions on
companies owning TV, newspaper and radio outlets in the
With cross-ownership rules
being relaxed and the number of television duopolies
(one company owning two stations in the same market)
quite high, some independent news organizations may face
tough competition or possibly elimination in some
markets. This may limit the number of outlets for news
and story promotions.
While the effects of media
consolidation on the PR industry are still being
debated, there is a consensus that there will be
consolidations. Any time consolidations occur, there is
a tendency for some elimination of jobs.
That means that some of your
most reliable PR contacts may possibly be going away.
For example, if a television
broadcaster buys the local newspaper (or vice versa), as
well as the radio station, there may reductions in the
total news-gathering operation. Multiply this effect
across the country and you may see some large-scale
changes in editorial and reporter staffs.
Proactive PR pros will be
spending extra time over the coming months editing their
media lists, keeping up with staff changes, and talking
to their contacts in order to strategically identify and
change media opportunities in each local market.
They will also begin
focusing more heavily on alternative media outlets, such
as Weblogs and interactive forums. The new technologies
available to PR pros will become more important than
ever in gaining media response as traditional media
outlets are restructured.
Those who donít prepare now
will be in for some shocks when they try to pitch their
stories to editors who are no longer on staff, or
reporters who are too busy with added work to return
calls as they once did. Strengthening current ties and
staying abreast of changing conditions in your core
markets will serve to keep you ahead of potential
problems when itís time to approach the media with your
This brings media
relationships to a new level. Instead of calling
reporters when you have a story to pitch, you may want
to give them a call when you hear about something
happening on their particular beat or in their
particular market. Make it a two-way street, and you may
end up ahead of the curve.