Where Are All the Reporters Going?

Are you having increasing difficulty finding the right reporters to connect with? Unless you’re in Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C., that’s no surprise.

An analysis of U.S. Labor Department figures by The Washington Post’s Jim Tankersley (“Why the PR industry is sucking up Pulitzer winners”) found the number of regional reporters plummeting. Where are these scribe tribe refugees going? For better or worse, many are taking up public relations. He tells of one reporter for a smaller Southern California daily who could no longer scrape by on a journalist’s salary in that high cost of living area.

News, Press, Newspaper, Commenced, Journalism

If you’re a budding reporter, the data suggests your best job prospects are in D.C., L.A., or New York City. Sorry if you had planned to try to stay closer to home in the Midwest, South, or…well…just about anywhere else.

The bottom line: Not only is the number of jobs in communications/public relations growing, so are the wages. Media pay in smaller markets isn’t even keeping pace with inflation in many cases.

Here’s another part of the story that matters to veteran communicators (and will come as no surprise): Today’s reporters are under ever growing pressure to report on and write about multiple stories in any given day. After all, it’s not like the old days when they had one deadline every evening. Now they must post content to the web and keep it fresh as new developments occur.

What’s your take on this trend? As a communicator, are you finding media relations more challenging by the day? If you’re a reporter not located in one of the major metropolitan areas, how difficult has your trade become?


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