The Oregonian’s Breaking News Manager on the Evolving Newsroom
The Oregonian’s manager of breaking news, Jerry Casey (@jjeremiahcasey), was our latest featured guest at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy. Jerry provided some interesting insights from inside today’s newsroom and The Oregonian’s historic transformation. He correlated the evolution of news consumption with the shift in staff needs and pace of story production. Jerry recognized the impacts on the public relations industry and offered tips for pitching journalists with the new newsroom in mind. Hear Jerry’s observations from inside the The Oregonian newsroom and his take on the state of news media today on our first-ever Speakeasy with AM:PM PR podcast.
The Oregonian Today
Changes at the Oregonian have been a hot topic among journalists, ex-journalists and PR professionals over the past several years. Most recently, the paper announced the closure of its printing plant and plan to outsource. Over the last five years hundreds of Oregonian staff have been laid off leading people to wonder, what’s going on around there?
Without much context the layoffs can seem quite callous, but are these changes simply the result of new technologies and how today’s reader consumes news? Understanding how readers consume the news is another way that technology has altered the newspaper business – and new technologies give greater insight than ever before.
Clickbait, Quotas and Millennials
News site analytics show an increasing number of readers attracted by clickbait over hard-hitting reporting. This data effects the types of stories news organizations invest in.
How is The Oregonian adapting? Last year Willamette Week published a leaked email about new guidelines for Oregonian reporters that included rules for social media usage; how frequently they should be posting and how compensation will be related to readers.
That story fascinated us so we asked Jerry how it reflected changes in the newspaper business what the resulting cultural impact has had on older reporters in the newsroom. We also wondered how much the new guidelines were influenced by millennials joining the workforce.
Jerry differentiated between producing narratives and, simply, relaying information. In fact, he explained many stories “don’t need a narrative.” This is a useful point for those hoping to pitch stories to the media.
Pitching The Oregonian
Staff reductions, evolving reader interests and managements expectations of reporters have made pitching more difficult for public relations professionals. Jerry offered suggestions for pitching Oregonian staff, including starting with reporters you know, how to think about the story your pitching and what tactics to avoid.
About Jerry Casey
Jerry has worked as an editor in Portland since 1999. His diverse newspaper career includes stints in Virginia and Florida, in addition to Oregon. He’s been a copyeditor, business editor, city editor, bureau chief and The Oregonian‘s first online editor.
We hope you enjoy our inaugural Speakeasy with AM:PM PR podcast. In the future we hope to tap into our team of experts to discuss crisis communication, media relations, strategic communication and share more from our Speakeasy guests.
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