It is due time that journalists stop complaining about the work of public relations pros and people from the PR Agency World. In The Economist on March 30th, there is an article which discusses the annual report of the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Centre, the aptly titled “The State of the News Media 2013.”
Surprising no one who follows the media, “the report indicates that newspaper staffs have shrunk by around 30% since their peak in 1989, and newspapers collectively now employ fewer than 40,000 full-time professionals, the lowest number since the mid-1970s.”
And naturally, corporations and PR pros are increasingly contributing quality content – but The Economist is not fond of the idea that “newspapers and magazines are also relying on outsiders to fill up space as their staffs shrink.” While the newspaper seemingly indicates its ok for think-tanks to do so, “a more pernicious trend is the growing number of public-relations workers. In 1980 PR flaks and journalists prowled in around equal numbers; in 2008 the ratio of PR folk to journalists was nearly four to one.”
The world has changed. “Every man” is today a journalist. CNN, Fox, or The Economist didn’t break news of Bin Laden being killed (or Qaddafi) – the citizen journalist did. And today, corporations and public relations pros can create content without needing a filter.
Independent media will always be important, but the times they are a’ changing.