Who are the traditional media?
You’ve probably heard a lot of people fling around the words ‘the media’ before. You might also hear people refer to them as ‘the news media’. We mentioned them several times in the first post of this series and decided to define them as ‘journalists and influencers’. The reality is a little more complex than that. It’s worth taking a moment to consider which people and organisations the media is made up of. This will help you understand their functions and how your company could benefit from any form of traditional media. Most people who refer to ‘the media’ are referring to the traditional media organisations involved in journalism. These can be split into: print (the oldest form) and broadcast. Each type of media organisation communicates information in a different way, and often to different audiences too. We’ve summarised each of them below.
Print media consists of newspapers and magazines. If you buy a copy of The Financial Times from your local newsagent, that’s what we refer to when we say ‘print media’. The same goes for a physical copy of WIRED or your industry’s favourite trade magazine. You’re consuming content in a printed form. Whilst print media is now consumed by the smallest audience of all the traditional media forms, it is still the bedrock of media coverage and remains as important today as a reputable and time-tested source of information as it ever has been.
Almost all print journalists are split between editors and ‘reporters’. Reporters are sometimes called ‘correspondents’ when they cover a specific topic or geographic region. Reporters are typically the ones who produce the content. Editors are typically those who commission (make the decision to produce an article) and edit the reporters’ work. Sub editors are a type of editor. Editors sometimes write content but significantly less so
Broadcast media is your radio and TV channels. When you tune in to Nick Ferrari on LBC at breakfast, you’re consuming broadcast media. You’re also consuming broadcast media when you watch the BBC’s latest Panorama programme. The organisations are broadcasting content to you. About 75% of people in the UK use TV to acquire news, making broadcast the most popular form of media. Less than half of the UK’s population listen to the radio, on the other hand, yet it remains an important (and accessible) source of information and entertainment for many.
There is a wider variety of broadcast journalists. Broadcast journalist roles include ‘researchers’ who research stories to be broadcast. ‘Planners’ plan the stories and find guests who might feature on a show. ‘Producers’ manage a little bit of everything. ‘Presenters’ present the programme to you like Emily Maitlis, or Naga Munchetty, for example.
The UK has one of the strongest regional radio networks. It offers the ability to connect directly with key, local areas with geographically-relevant stories. Potentially overlooked by some, 89% of adults listen to the radio on average for over 20 hours per week, meaning the opportunity to increase your brand awareness is huge.
The differences between local BBC and commercial radio are fairly significant, but both ultimately provide similar opportunities. They want to talk about stories that people in the area care about and if you have a relevant narrative, it’s the perfect medium for your brand.
The best way to secure coverage for your company on the radio is to fill a guest speaker or interview slot. Much like other forms of traditional media, radio shows are highly targeted and appeal to very specific audiences. For instance, compare the listeners of BBC Radio 5 to BBC Radio Devon. Knowing where your audience is listening is the key to ensuring that you're engaging with the relevant demographic.