By Vilan Trub
The big question on journalist’s minds these days is what the landscape of media will look like in the future. While it is impossible to actually see into the future, studying trends gives those with their ears to the ground, like journalists, the ability to make logical predictions. No one has better foresight into the industry than those working in the thick of it. This is why Business Wire took the initiative and surveyed 400 journalists, bloggers, and other media professionals on their thoughts concerning the upcoming media landscape. Recently at Communications Week, Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz relayed the results of the 2015 Business Wire Media Survey.
“I read my news in paper form and on an iPad,” Tamraz said, pointing out the newly shared space between print and digital. Her affinity for both forms of media is a direct reflection of the survey results, in which journalists were asked which form of media they believed best represented the future: The New York Times model or the BuzzFeed model. There is no best bet for one style of tomorrow because the numbers came back split down the middle: The New York Times (27.9%) and BuzzFeed (33.5%). What becomes abundantly clear is that there doesn’t have to be a winner, the space can be shared and new forms of media can coexist with traditionally accepted forms. That’s not to say that the landscape isn’t growing.
When moderator Frank Washkuch of PR Week touched upon the importance of not just web, but specifically mobile web, Cathy enthusiastically agreed. This is not a new topic for her or Business Wire and it was made evident by a listing of mobile focused Business Wire news amplification tools that take your news to global mobile audiences through AP, AFP, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and Yahoo! Finance mobile platforms.
Cathy stressed the importance of understanding new platforms and with that, visual story telling. Today’s news stories are no longer text only. Today’s news stories are visual, personalized, snackable and sharable.
As new news platforms emerge and take hold, videos, graphics, photos, and other multimedia are becoming mandatory in company communications. Modern audiences are dictating what they want in the news they consume, and journalists see the writing on the wall. According to the survey, the role of reporters is becoming much more technically savvy with reporters citing video production (51.6%) and web services (44.7%) as a standard part of the job. Washkuch and Tamraz discussed how quickly reporting skills must evolve thanks to the rapid rise, launch and adoption of digital and mobile tools such as Periscope in the news reporting process.
As the wave of digital innovation continues to wash over the industry, Washkuch posed the question of how can traditional forms such as newspapers continue as they have in the past. Cathy opined that the future of print news would most likely be strongest in local and regional markets, where people are closer connected to the stories being covered. She pointed out that Warren Buffett, who famously reads five newspapers a day, recently purchased the Omaha World-Herald via Berkshire Hathaway.
“It won’t be like the past. But there are still a lot of things newspapers can do better than any other media.” – Warren Buffett
Following the conversation between Cathy and Frank it became evident that digital isn’t replacing older forms of media, not directly at least. Both are evolving in their coexistence. Newspapers still connect with audiences and their form will evolve based on the connection audiences look for. For communicators, the rapid increase in digital and mobile news consumption, multimedia storytelling is resulting in a decline of text only news releases. Multimedia story assets are no longer optional they are now a required part of the company storytelling process.
When asked why Cathy still reads newspapers in their traditional form her answer was simple, “I like the feel of paper.” That’s something the digital revolution will never be able to replicate.
While the news industry and communication tools are evolving faster than ever, today’s communication programs unfortunately are not. Download Business Wire’s 2015 Media Survey for access to what journalists are saying about the current and future media landscape and the role PR professionals within it.