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Media Layoffs: Survivors to wade through more e-mail. A lot more.

More Media Layoffs

More Media Layoffs

Consolidation, as a word, might sound reassuring with its implications of increased efficiency. During huge media layoffs, it means those left behind are performing the duties of the laid-off. Fewer people to pitch sounds convenient, but are they so overwhelmed they won’t hear anyone?

Daily, news organizations are losing what little ability they had to drill down and take a closer look at subjects.

During the 1990s, the Cleveland Plain Dealer was known for its nuanced, in-depth coverage. This week, the assistant lifestyle editor became the acting religion editor, replacing a religion editor and a religion reporter. No one should be surprised if some lifestyle duties resurface.

Television news isn’t immune either. The once unthinkable is starting: Competing local news stations are eliminating staff and the number of news broadcasts, and then combining what’s left. The same anchors are beginning to appear on different stations owned by different entities.

Fewer points of contact leaves fewer people to approach. But journalists once reading 300 e-mails a day may now be receiving 900 e-mails.

Yikes. To say it’s an evolving problem with evolving answers doesn’t do it justice. With the print vs. Internet morass, Media jobs were already disappearing before the economy tanked. Now, with media companies cutting to the gristle, to speculate what type of journalist will emerge in coming years, and how to deal with them, may be futile at best, silly at worst.

For now, methods of trying to crack a message through to the current round of layoff survivors range from old fashioned phone calls to tech tricks.

PR pro David Mullen blogs that the follow-up call is the best method to cut through the fog. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called to follow up on an e-mail pitch I didn’t get a response on and the reporter was interested AFTER we talked.”

Marshall Kirkpatrick at Readwriteweb believes phone calls from PR folks are a waste of time.

Instead, send RSS feeds, which he says journalists think are fun. “PR people, please send us the RSS feeds of your clients’ blogs and news releases.”

–Michael Blankenheim

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