"An election year can bring uncertainty," according to D S Simon Media CEO Doug Simon, "and that uncertainty might not be good for business or for clarity about your public relations plan."
However, Simon says a look back at the 2020 election cycle shows that opportunity can come along with that uncertainty, and he offers some tips and information that might make communications pros feel more comfortable about their prospects for snagging media coverage in 2024.
"It turns out that in the 2020 election, cable news spent 667 percent more of its time covering politics than local TV news did," he says.
D S Simon Media recently did an analysis of a heavy news day following one of the early Republican presidential campaign debates in this cycle. "We studied the coverage on local TV morning news in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Milwaukee, and Orlando, giving us geographic coverage all across the country. What we found was local TV news only spent 9 percent of its show covering political news. Networks, cable news, that’s a different story, but local TV news is an opportunity."
And there's more local TV news than ever, Simon adds. "The National Association of Broadcasters has found a 35 percent to 40 percent increase during the last ten years in the amount of local TV news. When it comes to Spanish-language newscasts, that number has doubled."
He also says there's a reason that local TV stations don’t cover politics as intensively as you might think. "They know if one of their viewers is a political junkie, they’re going to be watching one of the cable stations that align with their political beliefs," he says.
Trump's large win in Iowa was also good news for PR people. "It’s going to be certain fairly soon that it’s going to be a Trump, Biden matchup," Simon notes. "And there will be less news, even for cable and national networks to cover. So, when making your plan for 2024, it’s still possible to get your story on television, especially if you think local news, which in our survey data is far more trusted than any other media outlet."
D S Simon has created a anonymous survey to measure how the 2024 election will impact media relations strategies: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FRNZ8T9
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]