The Evolving Role of the News

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Posted on February 2, 2016, at 5:45 p.m.
by Hayley Kilgo.

Long gone are the days when reading a newspaper and turning on the television were the only ways people could find out the latest news around the world. Today, it’s as easy as powering on a smartphone where one can browse through social media feeds, watch Snapchat Discover stories, read theSkimm and search on news apps. The options are already endless; yet more are going to develop as how people get their news evolves every day.

In an article in PRWeek, Dan Verakis, SVP and director of public relations at Cramer Krasselt, said, “The demand for traditional news media isn’t going away, but consumption habits and preferences are changing with new technology. Take, for example, the evolution of recorded music technology – from vinyl to CD to digital streaming. People haven’t stopped enjoying music, they’re just consuming it differently.”

News2Millennials aren’t “newsless”
With this evolving media consumption, there are mixed reviews about how informed people are. Some feel as if the millennial generation is “newsless,” while others believe it is the absolute opposite.

According to the American Press Institute, “This newest generation of American adults is anything but ‘newsless,’ passive or civically uninterested. Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined.”

Dr. Scott Parrott, a University of Alabama journalism professor agreed. “The reality is that everyone today is getting more news than ever before — it’s just not through a print product,” Parrott said.

One doesn’t have to just read a newspaper or watch the news on TV to be more informed than others. News is all around us and even easier to access now through the usage of apps, social media and email-based news subscriptions — like theSkimm. All of these media provide a fun and interactive experience to consume news in ways that millennials enjoy.

Claire Dodson, a writer at Fast Company, said, “Millennials are forced to interact with global and local issues because they crop up on social media so frequently, and media have made good use of digital platforms. News is shareable now.”

 

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How social media has affected news
One of the main reasons why our generation is consuming news differently today is because of social media. The rise of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat has been a game changer in how millennials – and even other generations – receive and share their news. With people today having shorter attention spans, social media allows one to get news in a quick and interesting way.

However, social media has also played a huge part in the change of media and PR industries. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have affected the content strategies and the way effectiveness is measured for PR professionals along with journalists. But they have also provided a way to connect with members of the media.

In an article for Business News Daily, Katherine Niefeld, president and CEO of BlinkPR, said, “Many PR strategies today have turned to a more social-media-based approach, [such as] tweeting at editors or using LinkedIn to connect with top media outlets and buyers,” Niefield told Business News Daily. “The response is much quicker, and it allows for a different way to catch attention and connect with a desired audience.”

“I think social media allows PR people to better target journalists with their specific interests, so that way journalists aren’t bombarded with emails in subjects they don’t write about,” Dodson said.

PR professionals’ and journalists’ roles evolve
The increase in media consumption and the shift into the digital world have affected print and online publications’ strategies as well as the PR business. Because PR professionals are the ones who provide many media outlets with their information, everyone had to do some major adjustments in communicating with one another.

“The PR landscape has evolved to the point where the most effective practitioners are the ones who see themselves as facilitators of content, and know how to adjust their communication efforts on a situational basis,” noted Matt Rizzetta, CEO of North 6th Agency public relations firm, in an article on Business News Daily. “The media landscape is more expansive than ever before, with so many layers and nuances. The ones who can see clearly through all of the clutter and adjust their outreach strategies are the ones who will continue to reap the benefits,” he added.

“The rise of social networks in recent years has been one of the greatest agents of change in the media and PR industries. Not only have sites like Facebook and Twitter affected the content strategies of journalists and PR professionals, they’ve changed the way effectiveness is measured as well,” according to Business News Daily.

Although the “traditional” way of receiving news is moving toward digital, newspapers won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Media consumption is only going to continue to grow every day. So the way PR professionals, journalists and even businesses adapt to the ongoing changes and communication with one another will determine the success all can have in order to provide the information for which consumers rely on them.

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