High-Lights: Our Tech PR POV

Sharing What we Know – COVID-19 and the Media 

For those of us in the marketing communications field, being able to pivot on a dime and adapt to the news of the day is something we’re all accustomed to. The majority of daily news is typically centered around a business move by a major organization be it an acquisition, new product release or service offering that disrupts an existing industry. At times there are more significant news items that we need to adjust to but those are normally short-lived and delay a launch or campaign by one, possibly two days. And truth be told, these delays are usually isolated to the specific sector where the news has occurred. 

The current global health crisis that we are dealing with has impacted everyone around the globe. There is not one segment of our world that hasn’t been impacted one way or another, and this event is proving to be one of the most challenging times for marketing communications professionals that we’ve ever faced. 

While organizations figure out what the immediate new normal is for them, business has continued to some degree. And part of that business is being able to reach your audiences – customers, prospects, partners and employees. One comment that has stuck with me from a past meeting with a prospect of ours was “the fastest, most efficient way for us to get in front of our audience is to be in the media.” That quote stands true today as the power of a targeted, well-thought-out media strategy allows you to engage in discussions that are driving people to make decisions and look for new ways of conducting business. 

A resource to the larger community

Our goal as an agency is to always keep our clients updated on the current media landscape as it relates to their business. Today, we need to be both transparent about the opportunities that are out there today while also flagging potential fits to much more specific topics such as COVID-19. During a recent internal meeting we made the decision to share this information with our larger community because, at a time like this, we need to be looking out for each other and lending a helping hand whenever possible. 

We have provided information on a number of media outlets and their plans around COVID-19 coverage and if they are planning to balance them with more general, industry-specific stories for their audiences. We plan on keeping this updated on our blog so you can check back for the latest updates. If there is an outlet that you’d like us to look at that we haven’t included below please reach out to me (jason@highwirepr.com) and we’ll provide what we have. 

Overall summary

  • Reporters are being reassigned and covering their beat through the lens of COVID-19
  • Healthcare trade reporters are still covering non-coronavirus news
  • The financial impact of this crisis is being aggressively covered. Fintech reporters are asking for points of view on what people should do with their investments given how volatile the markets are. Same goes for guidance on taxes and how the tax season might change. 
  • Most broadcast teams are adhering to social distancing and are having their reporters/news anchors video in from their home office

Outlets working remote (indefinitely): 

  • Bloomberg News
  • Boston Globe
  • CBS
  • CNET
  • CNBC
  • CyberScoop 
  • Financial Times 
  • Fortune
  • HuffPost — team leads making call for their bureaus, most working from home
  • ITPro (UK)
  • New York Times
  • TechTarget 
  • Vice Media (Brooklyn office) 
  • WIRED
  • WSJ (including Pro) 

COVID-19 Focus/Feedback

  • AP 
    • All teams are now focused on the virus even within the confines of their beat; and that all other stories and pitches are on hold for now and follow-up should be suspended. 
  • Bloomberg
  • Business Insider 
    • Business Insider: In response to our outreach we were told that they are all coronavirus for the most part right now and everything else is on hold.
  • CNBC
    • They are all in on anything and everything coronavirus related as well as the impact of the downturn in the economy on companies. 
    • Late this week they have started to bring on more tech executives who are discussing their organizations contribution to helping fight the pandemic, remote work and/or their views on the response within their sector.
  • CNN
    • Developed coronavirus podcast, which publishes each morning. Hosted by CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
  • Fast Company
    • At the moment, they are doing 90% stories related to the news. They are certainly interested in longer-term stories that are unrelated, but it may be awhile before they are able to tackle a lot of them if it seems that readers are unlikely to pay attention.
    • Still accepting/working on contributed articles that aren’t coronavirus related
  • Forbes
    • Mostly focused on COVID and the market for the short-term; open to hearing ideas, but most not focusing on anything else at the moment 
    • Forbes has more than doubled their breaking news team and launched newsletters dedicated to working from home and general coronavirus news
  • MIT Technology Review 
    • Has asked its writers to focus on two main things: questions about the virus and how it works, and discoveries and innovations that might help win the fight against it.
    • The publication also has a new COVID-19 newsletter
  • SiliconANGLE 
      • Wants to see pitches on how tech is being applied to managing this situation…. Remote workforce, load on infrastructures… and on people: how do you keep them motivated without being too onerous? What role does the cloud play in enabling people to work together?
      • Other topics include: How do you get people to work at home effectively who aren’t trained and have no technology orientation? How do you get them to be fluent when they are used to others helping them? People’s mood: isolation for a lot of people can be brutal at a time like this.
      • About 30% of Silicon Angle’s articles reference Covid-19 so far
  • TechRepublic 
    • Is covering a fair amount of Covid-19 stories but recently said they are looking for normal pitches/ones not related to COVID-19. 
  • The Information
    • Their afternoon briefing newsletter will now focus exclusively on COVID-19. 
  • WSJ
    • Given the directive that they’re all COVID-19 reporters now

What to do when the media needs to pivot their coverage?

Here at Highwire, we’ve been working tirelessly with our clients on alternative ways for them to stay engaged with their audiences, create campaigns that are tied to their new short-term business goals and help them dive deeper into their existing customer base. 

As part of this counsel, we’ve been having conversations with our partners across the media landscape to help inform our recommendations on not only what we bring to the market, but where do we look to place the content due to the changing coverage and needs across the media. With this pandemic drawing attention from all sectors and regions, the need to provide timely and informative reporting is critical for all media entities. And this affects the work that we do for our clients every day. It is our job to try and stay ahead of it while also bringing new ideas and opportunities to help them reach their goals.

Stay safe and healthy.