Five reasons why a newspaper review is still vital in the age of social media
By Alex Singleton, Associate Director at The Whitehouse Consultancy
A morning newspaper review – with printed papers – is one of the most effective tools a PR team can use. Yet when I visit agencies and in-house teams, the papers are often either nowhere to be seen, or they have been left immaculately on a rack, completely unused.
Some people believe that social media makes newspaper reviews irrelevant, while others think reviews are useful, but they just don’t get around to doing them. Yet I find they’re immensely useful. Sure, online might be how most of us read the news, but a team newspaper review has some advantages:
1. Following people who are like us on social networks and reading the same online articles as them has a downside. It can make us narrower in our general knowledge of what’s happening in society. Print editions, conversely, encourage us to see a wide range of topics. And since being exposed to a variety of conflicting ideas and knowledge makes us more creative, reading newspapers is a useful technique for encouraging creativity among teams.
2. PR staff notice opportunities better in print than online, because they notice and think about things that they wouldn’t click on.
3. A review in a meeting room gets the team away from their desks to focus on what’s in the news. It provides an opportunity to discuss how stories are developing and to bounce ideas off each other. And it acts as a team-building exercise.
4. The team gets to see the news in the form that some key stakeholders read. Although newspaper circulations have been hit by the internet, print editions remain important media sources, especially among opinion formers (such as politicians and business leaders). The London Evening Standard has a readership approaching 900,000 daily, while The Daily Mail is read by around 1.7 million. The Times’s circulation of 399,915 is higher than it was in 1981 (282,000).
5. Print newspapers are highly influential on what other media sources will feature – including television, radio, social media and online news sites.
Earlier this year, a PRCA survey of agency CEOs and in-house communications directors revealed that 29 per cent didn’t think that a newspaper review was necessary. They may think this is modern, but their position is holding them back.