(Newswire.net — November 18, 2015) — Since the first newspaper was published in the American colonies in the late 17th century, print media has experienced a rise and fall so dramatic, it is virtually unparalleled in modern times (pagers, William Hung and MySpace don’t even come close). Traditional media has been supplanted by digital and social media, and as millennials continue to drive an increasingly fragmented media marketplace, what has largely been thought of as an imminent death to print media hasn’t happened. What gives?
According to the Brookings Institution, ad revenue for all newspapers in the United States dropped more than half, from $63.5 billion in 2000 to roughly $23 billion in 2013, and it continues to fall. As newspaper revenues decreased, Internet companies such as Google and Facebook have soared, as they’re able to provide advertisers with better metrics and reach per ad dollar.
However, there’s an X-factor that is usually an afterthought in this discussion: the First Amendment. Freedom of speech – and the press – is a third rail of politics. Any move to abolish or abridge the right of press to speak freely would be met swiftly with thunderous opposition from coast to coast.
The press has built a hard-earned legacy of holding government accountable and seeking to improve the quality of life for those in our communities. Investigative journalism has exposed corruption and inequality for hundreds of years. The best exposers of truth have historically come from our nation’s newspapers, which built brands that are deeply woven into our cultural fabric.
While advertisers have moved their dollars toward more effective channels, newspapers continue to amass value in their reputation and ability to sway public opinion. They are also adapting, albeit at a snail’s pace, to blogs and other digital and social media that have risen up to focus on specific industries, lifestyles and communities. This evolving adaptation is leading newspapers away from their reliance on print and closer to a digital-based model.
We may not see the death of old media in our lifetime. Rather, we will see old media transition more widely to other forms of digital and social content, keeping their brands and credibility largely intact.
What does this mean for PR agencies such as the San Francisco area based finemanpr.com and others that have sought to get their stories covered in old media? They are changing as well. Influencers are growing across digital and social media as people look more for curated content that meets their needs. The top public relations firms are moving their clients closer to a model of transparency, whereby they rely more on themselves as content creators and work directly with online influencers and other thought leaders to spread the word. This has also led to more meaningful and relevant content, as people only engage with content they’re interested in.
For those clamoring for front-row seats to the death of old media, they’re going to be waiting a while. But all media are evolving, and it is incumbent on all of us to play a part in holding others, and ourselves, accountable.