Dec 8, 2022 - Economy

Media's harsh headwinds

Illustration of a microphone wrapped up in warning tape.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public relations professionals outnumber reporters 6 to 1, and that number is growing.

Why it matters: Economic headwinds are causing media entities to restructure, slash costs and shift strategies. As a result, PR pros should rethink how they work with strained newsrooms.

State of play: In recent weeks, media outlets have taken differing approaches to cost-cutting.

What they're saying: "The unstable media landscape has impacted the work we do in ways big and small — a pitch idea scrapped, a story-in-progress pulled, Twitter activity put on hold," Carol Carrubba, principal at Highwire PR, told Axios.

Zoom out: Some companies are creating in-house media arms to distribute owned content because it's a cheaper alternative to paid media campaigns and faster than building brand awareness through earned media placements.

  • "As the media landscape continues to shift, we have a stronger focus on owned content with our own editorial team and integrated digital marketing to get the reach and audience engagement that matters," says Carrubba.

Yes, but: These in-house operations are also feeling the pain.

  • Andreessen Horowitz has shut down its tech publication and MEL Magazine, owned by Dollar Shave Club and then acquired by Recurrent Ventures, has let go its entire staff.

What we're watching: The alternative media industrial complex is growing, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

  • More writers, politicians and business leaders are sidestepping mainstream media, opting instead to elevate their profiles via Substack newsletters, podcasts and other independent channels.
  • Plus, if done well, owned media is an inexpensive way to help B2B companies win and maintain business during uncertain times, according to an Edelman-LinkedIn study.
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