I’ve had the fortune of being able to share my experiences in PR and journalism on a number of occasions by giving talks at The University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton College.
One thing that is always a pleasure to see is the desire and hunger from students to break into the media/communications industry.
My most recent talk for Connect PR was with the NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) class at Wolverhampton College and from the questions thrown at me it was refreshing to see a genuine enthusiasm to get into journalism.
But one question that is repeated from those looking to take their first steps into a newsroom is ‘do you think newspapers will last?’
It’s a perfectly valid question but it’s also the reason bosses at some of the top titles in the country are earning mega bucks to ensure they stay in business.
The subject is a minefield.
But even as a former newshound and great lover of the world of news, the last newspaper I read was handed to me for free at a train station and the last newspaper I actually bought was predicting Ed Miliband to walk into Number 10.
The reality is the primary source of our news is no longer the newspaper – that’s the sobering truth many publishers are still waking up to.
But do I think the function of a newspaper and the job of journalist is dead?
Absolutely not – in fact it’s an exciting time.
My thoughts are more newspapers – let’s call them ‘publications’ to save confusion – will follow the format of the Huffington Post.
A publication that still requires content, still breaks news and still has a desire for readership, yet was born in a digital age.
But someone has to provide that content. Someone has to have the knowledge of media law, the ability to write compelling news coverage and articles and most of all engage with readers.
My answer to those students is this – there will always be a place for publications but how you get your news will change.
But it’s not just journalism that is feeling this effect.
At Connect PR our social media management is big part of the business.
Add that to our growing video service and you see that digital communications is a massive part of the job.
It is why the most recent PR success stories have centred around social media.
For example Paddy Power – who are never one to miss a PR stunt – sent trucks to Westminster with the slogan ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ a nod at the popular chant in the football terraces.
The images of the truck outside Westminster went viral and drew attention and praise from political commentators – but more importantly to the Irish-based company – it raised brand awareness.
It was designed for the digital platforms and widely published on their social media channels ahead of the election where they were promoting political bets.
But it still required the skill and craft of a PR team to recognise the best way of raising their brand regardless of the platform.
This is why it is my firm belief that the essence and soul of newspapers and the art of writing articles will remain but where or how we consume remains to be seen.