PRSA NJ Spring Newsletter

Reporters Tell PR Pros New State of the Newsroom at PRSA NJ Meet the Media Event

Photo courtesy of Ron Wyatt Photography
Photo courtesy of Ron Wyatt Photography

Ken Hunter, APR

Several New Jersey-based reporters explored the changes they’re seeing in the newsroom at the April 1 “Meet the Media” event, and despite the significant competition to get stories up on social media incredibly quickly; they indicated they’d rather be “right” than “first.”

The panel, presented by PRSA NJ, in partnership with the Rutgers University Chapter of PRSSA, and the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, featured multiple reporters from the region:

  • Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press
  • Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg
  • Michelle LaRoche, Wall Street Journal
  • Doug Doyle, WBGO Radio
  • Walt Kane, News 12
  • John Ensslin, The Record

The panelists noted the competition they receive from blogs and other news sites, plus their own outlets’ social media needs, but still prefer to work on stories as before, through traditional reporting methods.  Citing the early misidentification of the Newtown, Conn., school shooter, one panelist noted the importance of accurate reporting through traditional methods.

When it comes to their relationships with public relations professionals, reporters restated their familiar complaint that PR teams can tend to be an obstacle in the path of their coverage, but stressed the importance of PR people to always be explaining “why this matters” in their pitching.

Despite recent insight into the possible scripted nature of White House press briefings, panelists insisted their approaches and standards remain to fairly state the details of events, rather than affect their outcome.

Many of the reporters on the panel have and still continue to cover various “Bridgegate” angles, pertaining to Gov. Christie’s administration.  When asked how they decide when “enough is enough” for the volume of in-depth coverage of stories such as this, and how they sense fatigue on behalf of their audiences, the panelists said they rely on the old-fashioned ways.  The consensus from panelists was they do not focus on audience research or the flow of comments following their online story postings, but still go with their gut feelings in the newsroom that a story ran its course.

Sponsored by GMI, a Lightspeed Research Company, approximately 75 people attended the breakfast event.  The chapter also thanks Ron Wyatt Photography for shooting during the event.

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