The alarm was sounded warning of the impending collapse of our nation’s top newspapers, from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Chicago Tribune to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but until recently little attention has been given to the financial well-being of TV news. As many Fortune 500 companies, particularly in the auto and financial services industries, have slashed their budgets, some stations are reporting a 20 to 30 percent drop in ad revenue.
TV news has traditionally been responsible for an average of 40 to 50 percent of a station’s revenue, but now hangs in the balance in some markets. The striking result has been a condensing and blurring of mass media. Stations in major markets are combining camera crews and sharing footage. Local newspapers and broadcasters are assigning stories from a single assignment desk. TV broadcasters are recruiting journalists to produce newscasts on the cheap. Both are bolstering their online presence with added content and interactive features to provide greater value in a 24-hour news cycle. Social media is rapidly becoming the next frontier, with forays into reporter blogging, news anchor twittering, online forums and live chats.
At Braithwaite, we’ve long held the belief that the lines between public relations, marketing, advertising, and branding are blurring. A successful communications campaign requires a fluid integration of these various components. In the absence of traditional advertising revenue, the media is learning a similar lesson in news reporting. The next generation of successful news reporting will be one that adapts to new technology and changing consumer preferences and integrates print, broadcast, Web, and social media to disseminate the news in a timely and relevant format.