The Media World is Changing — PR Pros Should Rejoice

As a media junkie, I follow news from the media universe (whether it’s PR, advertising, newspapers, digital publications, etc.) religiously. It’s a bit nerdy, I know, but it’s what I enjoy. At any rate, the past several weeks have been especially exciting, and not just because we’re only a few days away from Christmas.

No, the last several weeks have seen a slew of important shifts and announcements among major players in the news business, especially those that appear to a) actually have some money to spend; and b) among those media outlets that are poised to grow exponentially in the coming years, and thus, provide a lot of high-level media opportunities for PR pros and their clients.

The latest iteration of this seemingly never-ending cycle comes from Bloomberg News, which announced earlier this week that for the first time, it is expanding into editorial and Op-Eds.

‘What’s so great about that?’ you may be asking yourself? Well, for one thing, Bloomberg News is backed by the world’s 17-richest person, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City (where he takes a salary of only $1 per year . . . yeah, we all wish we were so rich we could actually give up our yearly salaries!).

Also, as the Financial Times noted in an excellent profile last month of Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler, the news outlet has quickly established itself as one of the most influential media companies in the world.

And that all means that for the smart and savvy PR pro, the one who likes to seek out fresh opportunities to expand their clients’ voice and thought-leadership, 2011 should be a good year for editorial opportunities. Yes, the media industry is still incredibly fractured, and yes, there are far fewer journalists relative to PR pros than at any point in recent memory.

But the doomsday scenario some predicted in recent years — that our profession would falter along similar fault lines of the media — appears to have not played out quite so negatively. In fact, quite the opposite. I have only anecdotal evidence to back this up, but in discussions I’ve had recently with reporters and editors who cover business and the media industry, PR seems to have actually increased its relevancy and value over the past year, even while media outlets continued to layoff reporters, copy editors and other vital cogs in the media machine.

So what’s the big takeaway from all of this? Perhaps it’s that despite a still gloomy economy, tight budgets and unemployment at 9.8 percent, public relations has never enjoyed a higher level of perceived value among the public and business community. And as businesses enter the early stages of a presumably prolonged era of WikiLeaks-like data attacks, our value to help build and enhance corporate reputations will continue to provide opportunities for PR to remain relevant in the years to come.

What have you seen/experienced recently in the media world that has you excited or optimistic about the year ahead?