It’s better to work together: How freelance journalism affects PR
Job security for current and future journalists is looking more and more uncertain. In May 2013, the Chicago Sun-Times laid off all photographers, which included 28 full-time staffers in favor of freelance photographers. In June, “PBS NewsHour” followed suit by laying off staff in favor of freelance video journalists.
Freelance journalists are the new trend in media. In fact, according to Cassie Boorn, “freelancers produce more than 70 percent of magazine content.” This shift from a traditional newsroom with full-time reporters and photographers to a newsroom with a revolving door isn’t just affecting the news industry.
Freelance journalism is creating a change in the public relations industry. The fundamental principle of public relations is to create relationships with journalists. Public relations professionals make relationships with journalists so they can pitch stories to certain newspapers to find their target audiences without paying huge advertising fees.
But how can public relations professionals pitch stories to a revolving door of journalists?
With a new writer popping up in different publications every week, it can be hard to create a solid, updated media contact list. For public relations professionals, it’s worth it to create relationships with motivated freelance writers despite the extra work.
Public relations professionals also have to craft a story to pitch to a freelancer who can then pitch that story to an editor and publication. For public relations experts, if there’s one thing to remember, freelancers have to eat. Pitching a good story to a freelancer can create a mutually beneficial relationship. Freelancers make their living on the stories that they pitch to editors because freelancers need to feed themselves.
“A good story idea is bread and butter for a freelancer. The more enterprising, exclusive stories they have to pitch to editors, the more ink and income they receive. Not only does taking your pitch to a freelancer first earn you points with valuable writers, but also it helps to establish the writer’s relationships with editors—adding more income down the line,” Krystal Tingle said in “6 things to know about pitching freelancers” on Ragan’s PR Daily.
Despite the uncertainty in the full-time journalism job market, freelancers and public relations professionals can work together to create smart pitches for publications. Journalism is changing, and public relations is adapting too.
_By Caitlin Hassler