Despite being less than 40 miles away from Washington, DC, Baltimore continues to be a surprisingly strong media market in its own right, with plenty of newspapers, broadcast, and dedicated lifestyle or business outlets locked in fierce competition for an educated and affluent audience.
"I really enjoy working with the local media," says Michael O'Brien, EVP and partner with Baltimore agency MGH. "They're very interested in local stories, but because we're so close to DC, the media here also feel tied into what's happening in Capitol Hill and Washington, as well."
Baltimore's media landscape is still largely dominated by The Baltimore Sun, but last year saw the launch of a free daily, The Baltimore Examiner, in the market.
Because local readers can also get home delivery of The Washington Post and the Baltimore-Washington edition of The New York Times, Dave Imre, president of Imre Communications, notes, "The Sun is definitely in a fight and has made some investment to keep up."
There are also plenty of local lifestyle reads, ranging from Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay magazines to the alternative weekly, the City Paper. "There's a lot of print, and a lot of it's very good," notes Lee Gardner, City Paper editor.
Warschawski VP Shana Harris says the proximity to Washington also gives the Baltimore media some added clout. "The nice thing about having DC so close is there are a lot of bureaus for major national news [outlets] that pay attention to the Baltimore newspapers," she adds. "So a story in the Sun can quickly get picked up across the country."
In an era of increasing reliance on nationally syndicated radio, Baltimore stands apart with plenty of local news resources, including two NPR affiliates and a host of AM talk stations led by market leader WBAL.
"The only thing that we don't have is a lot of online local media," notes Gardner. "This is not as much of a wired city as other markets this size, so you don't have blog sites that can make a difference socially and culturally."
Like any city, Baltimore media do focus on such issues as education and crime, but Imre says the other continual hot topic is healthcare, thanks in large part to the presence of Johns Hopkins Hospital and its huge research facilities.
"Baltimore has a great group of local healthcare reporters, and they're looking for breaking news," he says. "They pay a great deal of attention to new studies out of Hopkins, so you see coverage on almost a daily basis."
Baltimore's proximity to the national news corps in Washington means that a well-placed story in The (Baltimore) Sun or other local outlet has a great chance of attracting nationwide attention
Maryland is among the top 10 states in terms of household income. This makes Baltimore outlets ideal for consumer products and service pitches
The presence of Johns Hopkins Hospital and its research facilities have led to a strong Baltimore media focus on biotech and healthcare