DENVER – Early Friday morning, February 27th, readers and writers mourned the loss of the Rocky Mountain News. Shockwaves were felt around the globe as E.W. Scripps Co. put the nearly 150-year-old newspaper to bed. For once, the newspaper became news.
The Rocky Mountain News isn’t the first to die. (Check out a farewell video tribute here). And it won’t be the last. Hearst Corp. has threatened to close the San Francisco Chronicle if it can’t sell or sufficiently cut costs; same story for another Hearst paper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In Chicago, Minneapolis and here in Philadelphia, the papers have filed for bankruptcy protection. The Christian Science Monitor in April will become a web-only news source. Even USA Today, the paper of hotels worldwide, has forced staff to take a week-long vacation to save money.
So, what does this mean for you? If you make your living by writing copy at a newspaper, start hunting. If not, here’s some advice to use this situation to your organization’s advantage:
- Join the conversation. Publications are thirsty for free, credible content. Your organization’s leaders are valuable and have unique information. Share it.
- Speak many languages. Too often, organizations join only one conversation. Join many. Blogs, trade pubs, journals, online-only publications, hyper-local weekly newspapers, community forums, the list goes on…
- Write and write again. From bylined articles to commentary pieces to weekly columns, editors are looking for help. Their staff has been slashed and they need copy. Fill that void.
- Have something to say. You are what you write. Produce content that builds and supports your brand.