Does the business section in your daily newspaper appear to be shrinking? It's not your imagination. Publications like The Boston Globe are shedding stock tables and creating condensed business and money sections. Meanwhile, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Denver Post, The Orange County Register and Winston-Salem Journal have nixed their business sections altogether.
Decreasing ad revenue--down 7.9 percent last year alone--has newspaper publishers revising their layouts. With stock tables going online, "you can end up with not enough to justify a six-page [business] section," says Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for The Poynter Institute, a resource for journalists. And disintegrating business sections could mean "fewer opportunities for businesses looking for [print coverage]," he says.
ScienceLogic, a 5-year-old IT management software firm, has yet to crack its largest local daily, The Washington Post. "It isn't for lack of trying," says co-founder and CEO Dave Link, who projects sales of more than $8 million this year for his Reston, Virginia, company. Newsroom turnover has made it tough for ScienceLogic to build relationships with journalists. "It's like a rotating list of people you've got to connect with to even be a source," says Link, 44.
Placing newspaper stories has gotten tougher for Elizabeth Shea, CEO of SpeakerBox Communications, a PR firm that represents technology companies, including ScienceLogic. Her clients are still hoping to net national coverage, but they're focusing more on suburban weekly newspapers and trade publications. Others still are zoning in only on online publications and niche blogs where news is targeted and spreads quickly. "[Online media] speaks directly to the customer," Shea says. "[Entrepreneurs] have a better chance of having that publicity do something for them."
Shea encourages entrepreneurs to learn what potential customers read and to sell reporters on the relevance of their companies. Link is moving toward online coverage, but he hasn't given up on print. "We'd love to get acknowledged in the local paper," he says. "It hasn't been easy, but that doesn't mean we'll stop trying."