by Amy McGahan

March 23, 2020

Journalists have been working around the clock to bring us the latest news and updates on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this uncertain and unprecedented time when events, closures and the general news of the day are changing hourly, the media are playing a more important role than ever to keep the public informed.

Unfortunately, they are doing it with fewer resources, and that will only continue. In the midst of a health crisis in our community, The Plain Dealer will lay off 22 more journalists this month. Newsrooms have been feeling the impact of declining revenue for years, and now the effects of coronavirus are making it worse. Cleveland Scene just announced that it laid off five employees, and the remaining staff had to take pay cuts, asking them to do more with less.

So, how does this impact companies and organizations? It is even more important to be mindful of reporters’ time and to offer them content of value. Right now, if a pitch is not related to COVID-19 it is likely to get lost and not be of interest. More than that, irrelevant content that is too self-serving can make an organization come off as tone deaf to what is going on in the world today.

We have seen companies and organizations partner with reporters on stories about donations that are helping those in our community in need; how technologies are behind medical supplies that are helping prevent spread of COVID-19; and issues related to paid sick leave. These are just a few examples. We also have seen inquiries from the media about the following topics:

  • Best practices for working remotely
  • The impact of social distancing on mental health
  • Economic factors related to coronavirus – small businesses, job losses/labor market, industry-specific insight, stock market implications, etc.
  • How to talk to kids about COVID-19
  • Using telemedicine/telehealth

So, now is the time to think about how your company or organization can be of help and value to the media – and the community at large – during the pandemic. It is also the time to think of what’s next and what will dominate the news cycle as we eventually come out of this current situation.

If you would like to talk about how to work with the media right now, contact me.