It's no surprise that the lay-offs are rampant nationwide, and one place that has been hit especially hard is the media. If you've been reading the papers - especially in a media capital like New York City, you've heard that everywhere from Time Inc to Hearst to the celebrity weeklies are being hit with heavy lay-offs. Last week the Wall Street Journal announced it too would be cutting back on staff.
The Baltimore Examiner? Closing. Both Page Six Magazine and T the New York Times publication have cut back on issues, and both ABC and ESPN have witnessed hundreds of lay-offs. These are only a few of the examples of one of the sad effects of the recession.
So what does this mean to you, you many wonder? I don't work in media, why should I be following this trend?
If you are working with the press -and all of you should be if you intend to raise awareness for your brand - you need to be doing two things. First, be sensitive to the situation at the media outlets you frequently reach out to. Understand that the staff who were retained are often stressed, overworked, and wokring in an environment where they've just lost friends & coworkers. This is not the time to be demanding and unpleasant (not that you would ever do so, but give them extra time to respond to you and so forth).
Second, remember to constantly be updating and checking your media lists, where you are recording your pitches and media contact information. We here at Collective E have to check our contact lists monthly to ensure we're updating them regularly for our members. Even if you subscribe to a service like Cision or Vocus (which shares media contact information) you still need to do your homework, these programs are often slow to update information. I know for a fact they have yet to update Good Housekeeping Magazine after their latest round of lay-offs. That means you need to be on top of your media contact game! Check mast heads on magazines you frequently pitch, follow websites like Media Bistro in order to keep in touch with what is going on in the media world, and make sure you're regularly reaching out ot and maintaining relationships with your contacts so that if they do leave, you'll not only notice, but hopefully be notified of their upcoming plans. Remember: fewer employed journalists mean more freelance journalists, often the source of amazing stories in great outlets. Again, I can never stress enough how much the relationships are what matters here. Get to know people who should and and do care about your story, and keep in touch with them. This ensures no matter where they go if a need comes for you or your company, you won't be far from their mind.
Remember that the more you keep up on your media lists, the less this task will turn into a mountain of work. The job market is turbulent in all sectors and the media is no exception, so pay attention, stay on top of things, and adjust your media plans accordingly.
Best of luck!