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Public Relations Professionals Seek Out Online Media as Newspaper Sales Dwindle: Why Those with PR Jobs Need to Target the Internet When Promoting Their Clients

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Newspaper sales are dropping worldwide, while readership for online news content is growing. This article discusses a trend that is relevant to PR professionals seeking the best avenues by which to promote their clients. With decreasing newspaper sales and increasing viewership for online content, PR professionals are increasingly utilizing Internet-based media.

If Vice President of Global PR for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Duncan Wardle is right, the newspaper industry will be wiped out in about three to five years. However, while reports of a slump in newspaper sales are making noise, online news readership is increasing daily.

Newspapers Losing Out to Online Media

It is reported that over the last four years, the Los Angeles Times has lost more subscribers than any other daily in America. However, the company is happy since its website saw more than 100 million page views in February, a rise of 34% compared to the previous year.

The market is rejecting traditional reporting, and many newspapers have found themselves forced to make do with undertrained and scarce staff. On the other hand, according to a Nielsen Online custom analysis for the Newspaper Association of America, about 60 million people per month visited newspaper websites last year.

News major AP probably foresaw the future. In the 1990s the company started offering videos and online news. It decided not to rely on print revenue. Today, AP is one of the top providers of online news content.

The Walt Disney Story

Speaking at the Public Relations Society of America International Conference in Philadelphia, Duncan Wardle said that the news industry is scrambling. According to Wardle, there is opportunity to provide great content since news outlets will acquire online content that they won’t utilize in print or broadcast media.

At the McGraw-Hill Media Summit, Disney CEO Robert Iger advocated for the ongoing digital revolution. Having already established Club Penguin, a social network for children, Disney will soon launch Radiator Springs, a Cars-related virtual world.

The company recently set up Disney Online Studios, which will work towards the creation of virtual worlds, branded Internet communities, and online games. The Walt Disney Company aims to grow its digital revenue from $750 million to $1 billion this year.

Employment in Newspapers and Online Media

Newspaper employment was at its peak in 1990. However, since then one-fourth of newspaper jobs have disappeared. Statistics show that newspaper jobs account for half of the 165,600 media jobs lost since 2000.

While print news media outlets are witnessing layoffs, online news major AP’s strategy has enabled it to maintain a stable number of employees since 2000. Jobs at Internet-based media enterprises increased by 13.4% last year.

What Does This Mean for the PR Professional Seeking a PR Job?

As more and more viewers and readers turn to the online space for news and information, PR professionals will need to reach out to them via the media they prefer. PR jobs will increasingly require knowledge of Internet-based PR techniques as well as savvy about the best ways to connect with those who get their news online. Employment in the PR sector will reflect the rise of online media, and those seeking jobs in PR will need to be aware of how to effectively address the online audiences their potential clients seek to influence.
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