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More Media Layoffs, How It Impacts Public Relations, What PR Can to Do

Each week PR In Canada and Profectio receive emails from readers who are looking to gain more knowledge about public relations and how to use communications strategies to help grow their business. Recently a reader wrote a story titled “Layoffs Hit Newsrooms Across Canada

Deborah WeinsteinFor our latest edition of Industry Opinion we turned to one of our community members to help answer the question –  Deborah Weinstein, Partner and Co-Founder Strategic Objectives to share her perspective on the most recent newsroom layoffs.

Layoffs are an unfortunate part of business. Across North America we recently saw close to 1,000 laid off between Huffington Post, Verizon Media and Buzzfeed.

Deborah  – I have worked in the media before I moved up to PR, and job security has always been a key issue for journalists. Hiring freezes, layoffs, miserly raises, and red-circled salaries are ubiquitous in Canada’s media landscape. Now the digital media, which never used to pay anyone anyways, is forced to face the reality of ROI-oriented owners and investors looking to show a profit, or even break even. And brand marketers who’ve poured fortunes into digital media buys are looking for proof that their spend is delivering to the bottom line.

How do layoffs within the newsroom impact public relations people?

Deborah  – We are affected in two key ways: As PR pros we are losing friends and relationships, sometimes forged over many years; and we lose contacts, experts who know their craft and their beat, who are interested in listening to, using, and sharing our brand stories.

What can public relations people do with massive layoffs occur

Deborah  – First and foremost we must be kind and compassionate to our laid-off journalist friends who will need help finding their next opportunity and be grateful for our support. Also be thoughtful and cognizant of the trauma faced by the survivors, their counterparts left behind to man the newsroom stations short handed, now that their colleagues are gone. Swamping them hither, thither with “did you get the News Release I sent to RIP?” won’t do much to advance your cause and make new friends. Practically speaking, we must revise Media Lists and find out who, if anyone, will replace the dearly departed to cover our desired beats in the future. Sending a personal intro/note to introduce yourself to their replacements certainly wouldn’t hurt.

The media industry has shrunk significantly over the last five years, what impact has this had on the public relations industry?

Deborah  – There are fewer media outlets and fewer journalists now working in Canada. This means our PR pitches must be sharper, better, smarter, and more newsworthy than ever before to score earned media coverage.
We must constantly remain on the lookout for new ways to get our brand stories out in a credible way. This means spotting, engaging and and supporting new outlets, platforms and people; and facing the fact that PAID (AKA Native Advertising) has become a new reality when it comes to media and influencer relations.


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