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December 09, 2016

Anna Ruth Williams



2016 had no shortage of upheavals and evolutions for the media industry. Gannett tried to buy Tronc and the deal ultimately and publicly failed; for the first time in history, a president-elect has disparaged the press by calling them “sleazy” and “dishonest;” and our nation’s most authoritative outlets, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, announced substantial buyouts. As one journalist friend told me recently, “what a $#%*-ty year to be journo.” Sigh.

Yet, despite these moments of uproar, the Pew Research Center says 70% of Americans still somewhat closely or very closely follow national and local media. So, everyone relax, the media industry isn’t going anywhere.


Throughout 2016, tech reporters weren’t immune to the media industry’s changes. Here’s a quick re-cap (by no means completely comprehensive) of this year’s top tech media shake ups:

APRIL – Mashable laid off a couple dozen members of its editorial staff as it strategically shifts from "harder news" toward an "entertaining digital culture."

MAY – International Business Times laid off its entire team of tech editors and writers. Meanwhile, two-year old Re/code rebranded to Recode to reflect “more journalism, less slash.”

JULY - Venture funding to media-tech companies (think: Buzzfeed and VICE) dropped for the third consecutive quarter to $91.7M. This was the lowest amount in three years, and it outpaced declining deals in other sectors (more).

AUGUST – Huffington Post’s tech editor left and the outlet said the role won’t be refilled, signaling it might not prioritize tech topics moving forward. Meanwhile down in Austin, the “hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web,” the Daily Dot, laid off about 40% of its workforce.

SEPTEMBER – While some tech outlets declined in 2016, new ones emerged. Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei announced he’s starting a new media outlet targeting corporate executives. It will focus on tech, healthcare and business news. (hint: expect premium subscription pricing)

NOVEMBER – Information Week announced layoffs, which according to many of ARPR’s contacts in the newsroom, were a surprise.


So, what does next year hold, you ask? Well, the ‘era of the freelancer’ will continue to rise, as more and more laid off tech journalists turn into free agents and provide content to multiple outlets. In addition, as newsrooms keep shrinking, publishers will continue to seek contributed content to help drive their sites’ SEO, page views, clicks, etc. (e.g, it’s all about ad revenue). Finally, look for your favorite writers to sit in front of a microphone, as traditional print outlets produce more original video and podcast content (see WSJ’s tech videos as an example of this digital trend).

Fear not – these changes aren’t bad signals for tech companies looking to #makenews. In fact, it can be argued that the opposite is true. It just requires more PR creativity, more quality writing, and more relationship nurturing than ever before. At Alloy, we look at media through a holistic marketing lens. We bridge the gulf between brand journalism and editorial content. We understand the media industry’s revenue objectives and consequently, the importance of article syndication and SEO optimization. And we know that reaching tech journalists takes a helluva lot more than a cold call. It’s an increasingly complicated landscape, and we’re here to help. See our latest media hits on behalf of clients.