Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A bad week for Fairfax is a good week for PR

Last week started badly for Australia's oldest newspaper company, and then it got worse. By the end of the week staff at the two metro dailies - The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald - were on strike and management was bunkering down to produce the weekend's papers.

All in all, the publicity was as bad as it gets for a major media company. The Australian, in particular, enjoyed the show and took delight in pointing out the shortcomings of their competitor, which of course eventually got right up the nose of Fairfax CEO David Kirk.

But traditional rivalry aside, the changes at Fairfax are really only good news for one group: PR people.

As a senior Communications executive confided last week, the Fairfax news made life for his staff better in two ways. With a flood of unemployed journos becoming available, suddenly the labour market would turn in favour of PR companies who had struggled to recruit quality staff in recent times. At the same time his people would be writing more copy for Fairfax as there would be less people in their newsrooms to knock it back or rewrite it.

It's a syndrome Nick Davies would recognise immediately.


Laurel Papworth said...

Thought you might like this post on reverse syndication - no, not my blog :P

hm said...

Thanks, Laurel. btw, enjoyed your presentation at PANPA yesterday.

Laurel Papworth said...

Oh goody, I wish they had given me more time.... monetizing news widgets is interesting. Some of it was hard to make relevant to print.

For the record, I'm not one of the bloggers who screams down heritage media with "social media is the answer, what's your question?". I did a (voluntary) presentation to 80 freelance journalists to show them how to use social media to improve their knowledge skills. Just wanted to pipe up my little voice on the issue of symbiotic relationship between trained and citizen... :) I think some harsh things get said... :(

hm said...

They do indeed get said. But those numbers you quoted had a huge impact on that audience - even if most are still not sure what a widget is. The relationship between traditional publishing and the way content gets used in the digital space is now firmly on their radar.