Outlets covering media broaden view

Whether it's searching for hidden bias in coverage or looking at what print and broadcast outlets did right or wrong in their coverage, few industries do as much self-analysis as the media.

Whether it's searching for hidden bias in coverage or looking at what print and broadcast outlets did right or wrong in their coverage, few industries do as much self-analysis as the media.

Dedicated outlets such Editor & Publisher, Columbia Journalism Review, and Folio have been historically responsible for critiques of the standards and practices of journalism.

But the rapidly changing media landscape, most notably the erosion of both the circulation and advertising base at many newspapers, is now forcing these outlets to broaden their focus to also include more big-picture analysis on where the US news media is heading.

"I would say there's one dominant question that everyone in journalism and the news business is interested in: Who will pay for good journalism in the future?" notes Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar at The Poynter Institute.

Ironically, the Web - which is partly responsible for triggering this news media crisis - is also emerging as a platform for stories and opinion on journalism's future.

"The competition is incredibly stiff in terms of news and views because of all the blogs," says Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher. "Even if they're not specific media-critique blogs, there's a lot more analysis of the media than there was a few years ago."

Unfortunately, much of this Web-based coverage is limited to looking at the editorial side and, as Mitchell notes, the media business is more than simply journalism.

"We hear from all sorts of people because we cover the newsroom, the front office, advertising and circulation, and the online world - every possible part of a newspaper," he says.

Media properties can pitch media outlets - just like every other beat - with good stories on timely topics. One subject getting a lot of attention now is the technology driving modern journalism and publishing.

"We've had success with magazines like Folio because they've been adding more technology coverage," explains Marcus Grimm, marketing director for digital publisher Nxtbook Media. "One challenge is that things change so quickly in technology. If you're doing a vendor review, you can't just dust off what you did last year. That may work for printing presses, but not for technology."

Grimm stresses new technology alone won't lead to a story, adding, "We've been around for four years, so we have customers that can tell a good story. You also need to take an educational approach, because they won't be interested in something that comes across too much like sales and marketing."

PITCHING... media covering media
  • The current media crisis isn't going away. Given the press' obsession with its own business, now is a great time to position relevant clients as experts who can talk about the future of journalism
  • Media coverage is increasingly about technology. Pitches that focus on what's next in things like software and platforms will interest outlets
  • Look beyond the usual suspects to more niche outlets like Publishing Executive and online sites tied to major journalism schools and institutions to place stories on the latest trends

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