6 to 1: Advantage Content
Content Creation Journalism Public Relations

6 to 1: Advantage Content

By Jay Devine

A striking LinkedIn headline caught my attention recently: “Beware: We Now Outnumber Reporters Six to One.” The columnist, O’Dwyer’s publisher John O’Dwyer explained that the ratio of PR professionals to reporters is now six to one in favor of PR professionals. He lamented the fact that fewer and fewer journalists are now practicing their craft.

But, I had a different take. 

For me, the numbers have more of an upside than a downside. Sure, we all regret the decline of traditional news and the associated loss of journalists’ jobs. It’s happening everywhere. As the O’Dwyer points out, the number of journalists jobs has plummeted by 26%, between 2008 and 2020. Business news desks and “non-essential” beats covering topics such as philanthropy and science have been hit especially hard. And, this isn’t just happening in metro markets and small town America. The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Business Insider, Vice and the Los Angeles Times have all radically slashed jobs. The impact feels even greater, as many of the “new” jobs in newsrooms are assigned to tasks other than traditional beat reporting.

So what’s the upside?

More opportunities for us and our clients, I say. We now have the opportunity to fill the gaping hole created by smaller newspapers, local broadcast news outlets and even some digital news platforms. We do this by creating journalistic-style content for clients that is distributed on a clients’ “owned” channels such as websites, blogs, podcasts and social media platforms. Sometimes this written content is used on news and trade websites, and we are regularly creating digital news packages or b-roll that often appears on local news channels.

As we tell clients, there’s never been a better time to cover yourself. By developing and distributing your own written and video content, you can get your messages out to the audiences you need to reach.

The stories just need to be interesting and authentic. Generative AI may work for some things, but quality storytelling still needs a human touch. Which brings me to the other upside for us: Access to a new wealth of journalists who know how to report and write great stories. A few years ago, we added our own former business editor, and he now is our Chief Content Officer. He ensures that all of our content is not just marketing-speak but instead is well-written, fact-based content.

So, I say let’s not just regret the loss of journalists, let’s embrace the opportunity to work with a new generation of experienced storytellers to reach new audiences.

Devine + Partners is a public relations agency in Philadelphia. We offer a full range of communications services – from message and content development and media relations to issues management and employee and community engagement.

Jay Devine

Jay Devine