The Boston Globe may have escaped death this week when its unions agreed to concessions, but like almost every other newspaper, it is still facing operational and editorial downscaling in the months and years to come.
In some industries, Massachusetts' PR agencies are already moving on. Boston, long a hub for innovative fields like technology, healthcare, and education, has a robust media market that can serve both its readers' needs and client goals, regardless of the Globe's outcome.
In fact, depending on the industry, other outlets are already considered more influential in the region than the Globe, although the newspaper may still be the go-to outlet for regional news coverage.
Xconomy, a business news site that focuses on the information technology, biotechnology, and energy sectors, is considered one of the most influential outlets for clients of Schwartz Communications, which has a tech-heavy client roster.
“They write long, well-researched, thoughtful pieces,” says Dave Close, EVP of the Boston-based firm. “The types of people [that] our clients want to know about them tend to get their news online anyway.”
Although no one disputes the strength of the Globe brand in terms of reputation and importance to the public, the companies and residents of the Boston metro area are somewhat unique in that they're comfortable looking beyond the major newspaper to alternative or online media channels. Notable Boston-area companies include EMC, Biogen Idec, PerkinElmer, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University.
“These industries are understanding more and more the fragmented food chain for news and information, and are starting to move more into online channels,” says Ed Cafasso, MD and SVP of MS&L Worldwide's Boston office.
He adds that companies are increasingly “self-publishing” through social media and online channels, such as the Boston Chamber of Commerce using a blog and Twitter and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council launching Facebook and LinkedIn pages, as it becomes harder to get earned media coverage in struggling news outlets.
And if those fail, the city has ample media coverage in the sheer number of regional dailies, local TV networks, and national health bureaus of major media, says Boston-based Todd Ringler, MD of national health media relations at Edelman.
He points to titles like the Boston Business Journal; The Wall Street Journal's Boston bureau, ABC's national medical unit, and a number of secondary dailies like The Cape Cod Times, The MetroWest Daily News, Waltham's The Daily News Tribune, and The Daily Item. And there's always the city's other daily, the tabloid Boston Herald.
“Depending on how wide your audience is for your story, if you can find a local way to tie it into those towns… you can literally pitch all the way down, from the level of The Boston Globe down to the community level,” says Ringler.