Joan AurittJoan Auritt

Twenty-five years ago, when I founded Auritt Communications Group, my vision was to connect news outlets with news makers from the worlds of publishing, consumer products, food healthcare, business and technology. We did that by taking advantage of what was new and exciting technology - satellite transmission. Producing Satellite Media Tours—two dozen or more back-to-back interviews with broadcast and cable media throughout the country and world in a matter of hours—became one of our core services.

Twenty-five years later we are still doing exactly what we set out to do: connecting stories to audiences. But now we produce “content” and deliver it by means that were unimaginable 25 year ago. Our business has evolved in the midst of one of the most profound technological disruptions imaginable.

Over the past two and a half decades, we’ve witnessed the democratization of news gathering and distribution. With today’s technology, anyone with a smartphone can shoot a story and share it with the world moments later so that virtually anybody can become their own broadcast news channel.

When Auritt opened its doors in 1992, we worked in a closed system where network and local news organizations determined what was news and delivered it on their schedule to waiting audiences. Being first with the news was a value that drove the business and worldwide satellite distribution played a big part in making that happen. 

Today’s big news operations have been joined everywhere by fleet-footed, on-the-ground news-gatherers with smart phones and immediate internet access. First-with-the-news has now been replaced with first-with-the-analysis.  The value lies in providing context and background to further viewers’ understanding of fast-breaking events. With today’s 24/7 news cycle, the opportunities to participate have expanded tremendously.

Early on and now, our job is getting our clients’ messages in front of key journalists and producers.  Pitching clients’ stories had a well-defined path and success meant earned media bookings.  While this model still exists, there is brutal competition from social media and the myriad entities that deliver news or their version of it. Broadcast is the only one of the games in town.

Earned media has been joined by paid placements. What is mostly de rigor in the blogosphere has become a frequent reality in the television news and talk worlds that everyone in our business has had to grapple with. Many TV programs demand pay-for-play arrangements before they will broadcast sponsored stories.

News sites have proliferated to the point that they are too numerous to count. We now even have “fake news” created by bots. It is an open system where by anyone can create and distribute a story to audiences who exist more and more in separate silos. The challenge today is in reaching those fragmented audiences amidst the barrage of information being hurled at them.

With all of these changes, TV Satellite Media Tours and the Radio Media Tours continue to be viable, effective tools for connecting audiences to our clients’ stories. Radio and television reach has even expanded with the addition of satellite and internet radio and direct TV.

Reflecting back on our 25 years, the one constant throughout all of the seismic shifts in technology and news entities is story. It is the foundation of any successful media campaign on any platform. Whatever the delivery system, it’s what cuts through the clutter. And it’s the stories we tell that will see us through the next technological upheaval.

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Joan Auritt is President of Auritt Communications Group in New York City.  She can be reached at joan.auritt@auritt.com.