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Help Out a Journalist: Storytelling in Today’s Media Landscape


If you’re like most people, you’ve likely spent some time online today catching up on the latest news, perusing social media, viewing a video or two, and reading a blog.

Media as we traditionally know it has forever changed. Rather than specializing in print or TV only, today’s journalists are required to communicate across all platforms – websites, video, mobile, print – in order to engage their audience. They are bloggers and reporters and photographers and social media stars.

In newsrooms across the country, we’re increasingly learning about reporters who are expected to do more with less. They have tighter deadlines and multiple beats to cover. The Chicago Sun-Times recently made headlines when they announced layoffs of their entire photography staff, as a shift toward “bolstering [their] reporting capabilities,” leaving their staff reporters responsible for not only writing stories, but also capturing photos and videos to complement stories.

The Kansas City Business Journal just announced that readers will now have the opportunity to watch the Business Journal, and reporters are encouraged to take readers (viewers) on their beat with them. Video interviews and content will be shot by reporters on smartphones to supplement their stories.

These growing demands and additional layers of coverage certainly impact how public relations professionals and marketers pitch stories and build relationships with the media. Here are a few suggestions on how senior living communities can partner with reporters to help them gather information quickly when telling your community’s story – ultimately making their workload a little lighter.

  • Give journalists the complete package.
    When possible, bundle information for journalists via multimedia news releases, which include well-written copy and key facts, quotes from residents or leaders in your organization, links to studies and supporting information online, and photos and videos (when applicable). According to PR Newswire, 77% of news releases get more traction when there’s visual or multimedia content embedded.
  • Have a camera ready at all times.
    If you haven’t already, invest in a couple of cameras to have on site at your community. Make sure key staff know where they’re located and are trained in how to use them and upload the photos. Regularly post photos on your website and Facebook, and remember to send them to your PR team to share with the media.
  • Don’t forget video.
    Are you rolling out a new and unique program or service at your community? Does your on-site fitness instructor regularly share exercise tips for seniors? Has construction started on your new development? Visual storytelling has become a very important part of a senior living organization’s overall marketing strategy. Short 1- to 2-minute video clips can be added to your website and social media, reinforcing your community’s brand.
  • Participate in social media.
    The rise of social media has also influenced how journalists learn about, report on and share stories. Keep in mind, it’s not unusual for a reporter to pick up a story idea through Twitter or Facebook, and then search for supplementing information on an organization’s website.

With the changing media landscape, what are other ways in which your organization can help out a reporter?


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