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Event Recap: Media Crystal Ball - 2020 Forecast

By Shayla O'Keeffe 

At PRSA Tampa Bay’s recent Media Crystal Ball event, leaders in Tampa Bay’s journalism industry shared their insights into hot topics for the new year. Moderator Danielle Bayard Jackson, co-founder of Stride Media Group, asked the panelists questions that PR professionals in the community were eager to learn about, including:

The Impact of Mergers
Panelists acknowledged the trend, which means some longtime local businesses may no longer be headquartered in Tampa Bay. Business Observer Tampa Bay Editor Brian Hartz pointed out that there is a positive side to be considered because mergers and acquisitions “send a signal that Tampa Bay is a place to grow,” and it makes local companies attractive to those out of the local market.

Tourism and Transportation
Tampa Bay is a shining destination for tourists, with many signs pointing to a growing interest in the area. As ABC Action News Reporter Jackie Callaway put it: if you build it, they will visit it. The ferry between St. Petersburg and Tampa, along with free trolley rides in downtown Tampa, are two examples of how a free service can bring more visitors to local businesses.

Several large sports and entertainment events are coming to the Tampa in the next year, including March Madness, WWE Wrestlemania and Super Bowl LV, which puts even more pressure on transportation systems to provide solutions quickly.

Evolution of News Media
Jackson asked the panelists to explain how communicators can adapt to the noise, change and confusion during the current evolution of news media and consumer habits.

Graham Brink, Tampa Bay Times business columnist, said that although the Times has gone from producing one newspaper a day to a website a minute, investigative work “is the best it’s ever been.” Tampa Bay Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Alexis Muellner reaffirmed this and added that the entire community needs strong media organizations that act as truth-seekers. In a time of technology greatly impacting news, it’s crucial as PR and communications professionals to stay focused on the meat of the stories and not get distracted by the clutter.

Tampa Bay is thriving for small businesses and corporations alike. Its cities are gaining the attention of large organizations and tourists, and PR professionals have the unique ability to be on the frontlines of all the change. According to Brink, Callaway, Hartz and Muellner, 2020 will be a year full of dynamism, so get ready for the ride!

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