The biggest media story of 2007 - in fact, the only real media story of 2007 - was the changes being inflicted on the media by the Internet. Every other story was an offshoot of this fundamental dynamic.
Rupert Murdoch fulfilled a lifelong dream of his by buying up Dow Jones and its real prize, The Wall Street Journal. Rumors are swirling that he will make WSJ.com, the only really successful paid newspaper Web site, free for all, illustrating the increasingly clear theory that online money flows from advertising, not subscriptions.
Across town, The New York Times geared up for what may become a global newspaper war with the Journal. The Grey Lady poured resources into its own Web site, which is now the class of the news business.
The business side, however, is another story: continued declines in revenue and an intransigent management caused large shareholder Morgan Stanley to dump its shares in the Times, a terrifying vote of no confidence from the financial establishment.
While newspapers floundered, online properties continued to grow. Whether it was established media companies driving more and more traffic online, or upstart Web companies snatching away market share from the old names, it is becoming clear that the readership pie is not infinite.
The quest to build media brands, too, has almost fully integrated the online world. The need to have a viable strategy for dealing with the Internet as a communications medium is now readily apparent. Big-name news outlets that try to coast on their reputations, minimize the importance of the Web, or are simply not skillful in online communications, will suffer in ways they never thought possible.
PRWeek's media section tries to create a good mix of specific and trend stories. My philosophy is that anything happening structurally in the media is inherently important to PR pros. Therefore, we don't concentrate our media coverage only on how media properties do PR - we cover the media as an end in itself.
Ongoing macro-trends like the troubles of the newspaper (and now, magazine) industry and how new delivery platforms are affecting journalism will continue to be covered heavily in the year to come.
In addition to choosing entries for PRWeek's 2007 Book of Lists, PRWeek reporters provided individual overviews of a year within their beat. "On the beat" columns are also dispersed throughout the Best of Lists 2007 PDF.