The #PR proliferation problem

America now has nearly five PR flacks for every journalist (image via Muck Rack Daily)
America now has nearly five PR flacks for every journalist (image via Muck Rack Daily)

If you work on the media relations side of higher ed communications, you may have noticed that it’s becoming more and more of a challenge to get a journalist’s attention. A recent Muck Rack Daily article may help explain why.

It may be because — in the U.S., anyway — there are far more PR folks out there than there are journalists. For every journalist, writes Mike Rosenberg for Muck Rack Daily, there are nearly five public relations practitioners. Fifteen years ago, the ratio was two PR folks for every journalist. While the number of journalists is declining, the number of PR people is on the rise.

We could quibble about the numbers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data Rosenberg cites most likely includes marketing and advertising people as well as PR flacks. But there’s no denying the shift that’s occurring in the PR and journalism fields is affecting how people receive their so-called news.

“This is a huge change,” Rosenberg writes, “as companies and organizations are seeking to bypass a shrinking media industry and tell their own stories. What this means is that people are getting less objective news and more biased content.” (Related: According to another Muck Rack Daily story, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are the most trusted names in news today.)

Once again, this points to the impact of disintermediation in the news industry and the importance of thinking like a media organization for higher education.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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