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New media professionals enter the industry with an innate passion for keeping people informed – although most probably don’t realize that keeping people informed is now a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week commitment.
Once limited by time zones and printing press schedules, reporting has profoundly changed with the onset of digital communication. Most outlets have switched to 24-hour cycles to meet the growing need to deliver the most immediate and compelling news at every hour of every day.
Many of us have woken to breaking news that surfaced while we were capturing some much-needed sleep. The thing is, news never sleeps. Skeleton crews of journalists, editors, copy editors, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers and cameramen all remain on duty after normal business hours at every operating outlet – whether it’s a television station, online outlet, wire bureau or radio station – poised to cover breaking news, even if that breaks at 3:45 a.m.
As public relations professionals, our job, too, is deeply entrenched in the news – in fact, we are often the ones making it. With the 24/7 cycle comes various pros and cons that we, too, must take into consideration as we counsel our clients through breaking moments or even the run-of-the-mill daily dissemination.