What media layoffs mean to PR professionals

By Brianne Murphy Miller

Photo courtesy of Pixabay


The reduction in working journalists is having a significant impact on the life of PR professionals. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of working journalists has decreased by more than 20% since 2018, with many newsrooms experiencing significant layoffs.

In 2023, major media outlets such as the New York Times and CNN reported significant cuts to their staff, with more than 2,000 journalists losing their jobs. This trend is not limited to major media outlets. Local newsrooms are also experiencing reductions in staff.

For PR professionals, the dwindling numbers of working journalists means that there are fewer people to pitch stories to. This leads to increased competition for media coverage, with many PR professionals struggling to get their clients’ stories noticed. It’s more important than ever to create pitches that are short (less staff = less time), contain news that’s targeted to the media outlet, and is worthy of coverage.

Let’s take the healthcare trade media as an example. With fewer healthcare reporters covering news, it has become more difficult to get stories published about new drugs, medical breakthroughs, and other healthcare-related topics. This can be particularly challenging for PR professionals representing small and emerging healthcare companies that are looking to establish themselves in a crowded market. What might be “news” for your client, might not be news to a media outlet.

One thing is clear: PR professionals will need to adapt to the new reality if they want to succeed. Be strategic, do your research on media targets, and stay flexible.