Those hardworking journalists
This week’s issue of PRWeek includes our first annual Media Survey, produced in association with PR Newswire. There is a lot of great data in the survey, and I’ll let you read most of it in the feature. But I’ll be picking up on some of the key themes this week, starting with the conundrum of the editorial workload.
We asked journalists if they are being asked to work harder today than they were during the past few years and 57.3% said “yes”. By comparison, only 10.2% said “no”. And what are they being asked to do? It doesn’t take a media genius to know that the work is expanding online.
PRWeek, too, has reporters now running online exclusive sections, and contributing “cutting room floor” content to online feature extensions - the journalistic equivalent to the deleted scenes on DVDs. Now this extra video content is actually being produced with the sole purpose of going in the DVD only. The same is happening in reporting.
I think we have struck a very good balance at PRWeek, balancing the needs of the print edition, the website, the blogs, the e-newsletters, the podcasts, and online exclusives. But as innovation continues to occur online, it will be difficult to resist the temptation to pile more and more onto existing editorial teams, at the possible expense of quality and depth. When video is ubiquitous, will reporters be asked to do both broadcast and narrative versions of their stories? It’s coming, I’m telling you.
We are fortunate in the trade world that there is not an unlimited universe of content that will be relevant to our audience. Sure, we could get a lot of hits online if we started posting videos of Britney Spears pumping gas, but we would ultimately lose our core audience. Mainstream media have no limitations to their content possibilities, and will have to police both their staff tolerance and their content relevance vigorously, hopefully avoiding burnout in either camp.