Peek Inside…Pensacola Chapter – The Changing Media Landscape

Amy Minchin, VP, Professional Development

In Pensacola and around the world, the media landscape is continually changing as we forge ahead into the Digital Age. Technology impacts almost every aspect of the business, from news gathering and reporting to news distribution and consumption.

On June 20, FPRA Pensacola welcomed three local media professionals for a panel discussion about current media trends and how PR professionals can effectively work with journalists in the face of these changes. Panelists were Ben Henson, digital content director, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment; Auriette Lindsey, news producer, WEAR-TV; and Kim Thomas, deputy managing editor/digital, Pensacola News Journal and pnj.com.

Photo: (L to R) Pensacola media professionals Kim Thomas, Auriette Lindsey and Ben Henson discuss current trends at FPRA Pensacola’s June chapter meeting.

All three panelists said they use social media for news gathering and identifying sources (e.g., searching a company’s LinkedIn page to find contacts, monitoring Twitter hash tags, using social media aggregation tools to monitor key words and find story leads). “Social media helps us find local angles to national stories,” said Lindsey. “It also has made the TV news business more about producing global content that is shared throughout the day versus just one newscast.”

Providing photos and video is encouraged, the panelists said, and they appreciate PR pros who respond quickly to inquiries, even if just to say “I’m working on getting information for you.”

The digital age has made it more important for PR pros to provide regular updates when there is a breaking news story, as well. Thomas said she’s found that some organizations update their Facebook page more quickly than their own websites or news releases.

“There is so much white noise,” she said, “you have to make every post or tweet count.”

Despite changes in how media and PR pros perform their jobs, establishing good working relationships is still fundamental to successful media relations.

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