Census: 6 PR pros for every journalist

The public relations industry is projected to thrive in coming years. Journalism, not so much. However, there’s a robust future for former reporters who can tell compelling stories.

PR pros outnumber journos 6-1

Warren Buffett seems to think newspapers are “toast,” but rip-roaring storytellers will always have the last riposte.

They might just be spinning yarns from the PR side of the fence. U.S. Census data shows that PR pros now outnumber journalists 6-to-1, as newsrooms shrink and public relations jobs swell.

According to Bloomberg:

Employment for public relations specialists will expand to 282,600 in 2026, up 9 percent from 2016, according to projections from the Labor Department. Meanwhile, jobs for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts are forecast to decline 9 percent to 45,900 over the same period.

For the news business, that would extend already sizable declines. Newsroom employment fell 23 percent to 88,000 from 2008 to 2017, with the number of newspapers dropping 45 percent to 39,000, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The news is not all bad for ink-stained wretches, however.

Brand journalism, the ‘third way’

News outlets are slowly dying off, leaving a vacuum for vivid storytelling. Corporations are trying to fill that void.

Companies, hospitals, universities and airports are tapping into the power of rich, robust storytelling to enhance PR efforts, which opens a massive opportunity for former journalists to get back in the game. It’s a major opportunity for companies keen on boosting recruiting and retention, too, as a newsroom-style brand journalism approach is more appealing than pumping out press releases.

Jim Ylisela, co-founder of Ragan Consulting Group, views brand journalism as a hearty supplement to PR and marketing efforts—not as a replacement. He views it as a “third way” to communicate and as “another spoke in your storytelling wheel.”

So, despite the grim statistics and predictions for U.S. journalism, job opportunities should be available for years to come—just not with traditional news outlets.

Click here for more predictions on the future of PR and journalism jobs in the United States.

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