Work Our Audience-Driven News Climate

Nonprofit Media RelationsThanks to guest blogger Mollie Katz, Multimedia Strategist at Mollie Katz Communications.

In their day, legendary journalists like Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post essentially defined the day’s news for their audiences. But today it’s a different story—Increasingly, audience interests shape journalists’ decisions on what’s news.

NBC, for example, is sharing viewers’ thoughts on the election anonymously, collecting them via text, phone, and Tumblr. The New York Times has decided “to produce a product that consumers have a greater say in creating,” according to its public editor Liz Spayd. Other examples abound, affecting news, feature, and opinion coverage.

How the News Is Changing, and Why You Should Care
This is happening because traditional media is still adjusting to the internet’s impact. Digital media has exploded with new outlets representing diverse opinions and covering an incredible range of subjects. To compete with these newcomers, traditional media outlets must stay closely attuned to their own audiences.

Through audience engagement, journalists can assess public sentiment easily. All they have to do is ask readers, viewers and listeners for their input.

Today’s news consumers also talk back through their online activity. As Spayd wrote, readers now prefer “a dynamic relationship that feels more like a conversation between journalist and reader.”

And, when shared on social networks, these conversations can draw coveted new eyes and ears to news outlets.

How YOU Can Work this Trend to Benefit YOUR Organization

  • Act quickly on media invitations to influence coverage. Respond on behalf of your organization if it’s appropriate, or mobilize your constituency to respond as individuals.
  • Use your own engagement data to support your unsolicited pitches. Show—don’t tell—journalists what your constituency thinks.
  • Think creatively about how to convey your messages in this media environment. Experiment with new ideas, and learn from the results.

What opportunities and challenges have you found in this audience-driven media climate? Please share them here.

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Guest Blogger in Media Relations and Press | 0 comments
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