LT’19 Media Day

newsChange. Challenge. Chance.

These three, alliterative words came to light as descriptors of today’s media landscape on Wednesday, Nov. 28 as LT’19 delved into its annual Media Day.

In terms of change, we learned technology has drastically increased the speed of communications. More traditional media outlets – print, TV, and radio – have been forced to rethink their business models and approach. In turn, today’s media is faced with a unique challenge: how to balance providing instant access to information while ensuring credible, high-caliber reporting, all while keeping up with the demands of changing consumer behavior and a now around-the-clock news cycle. Despite the push and pull of this change and challenge, the hope for chance was palpable. Now, more than ever, media outlets are needed to provide vetted coverage; and locally, to supply the demand for locally-relevant news reporting. As the media landscape continues to evolve, outlets expressed the opportunity to reinvent through the strategic building of capacity and capability and the creative expansion of distribution channels.

We made these observations as our class traveled across the Tampa Bay area and visited some local media mainstays, including: iHeart Media Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Times, and WFLA-TV. Following are some highlights of what we learned at each of our stops:

iHeart Media Tampa Bay

  • Consists of 10 stations, 30 production studios, and 145 full/part-time employees across six departments
  • Designated Market Area (DMA) = 2 million+ in the Tampa Bay area
  • WFLZ-FM, a flagship station of iHeart Tampa Bay, is one of the top radio stations in the nation
  • As a brand, has evolved from being a radio company to the largest multimedia company in the U.S.

Tampa Bay Times Printing Plant

  • Boasts the largest newsroom in the Tampa Bay area
  • Every day, delivers hundreds of thousands of newspapers to homes and businesses in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando Counties
  • “The Daily Miracle” = phrase used by the Tampa Bay Times to describe the process of publishing the newspaper every day
  • Vice President/Tampa Publisher and TampaBay.com Publisher Joe DeLuca shared that the most important thing for the Tampa Bay Times to demonstrate is that “power flows in the direction of hope”

WFLA-TV

  • Goal = To put on a newscast that accurately reflects life in Tampa Bay
  • Has shifted its focus from strictly TV to multi-platform
  • Boosts its news content on social media to aid immediacy

Throughout the day, we had the privilege of hearing from many esteemed speakers; especially of note was LT’03’s Ernest Hooper from the Tampa Bay Times. He imparted wisdom on how and why to “dig a well before you’re thirsty”; in other words, how to effectively plan for a communications crisis in today’s ever-changing media landscape. He may or may not have also shared some breaking news. That’s all we’re saying!

To all sponsors, speakers, tour leaders, Media Day chairs and committee members, and LT leaders and staff, thank you for making this opportunity possible.

Jennifer Dunn, APR, Conversa