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Where Did 2023 Go?

January 15, 2024

Friends and Colleagues,

Wow, what a whirlwind of a year 2023 was! I know I’m not the only one that was slammed with work last year (hence the delayed letter…).

Because so many of us were either sick, burnt out or checked out during December, I decided to postpone my reflection/anticipation letter until this week.

I also thought I’d copy a segment from the ‘All In Podcast’ to outline my thoughts on the biggest PR Winners & Losers of 2023 and my predictions for 2024. Hope this is a fun way of looking at things old and new and would welcome any commentary or thoughts.

2023 PR Winners:
I actually think there were a few bright spots in the earned media landscape from last year. The first being the rise of the independent journalist. We’ve seen this trending in recent years with folks like Megyn Kelly, Tucker Carlson and others, but people without any prior name recognition have capitalized on this movement too. Studies show that more than 50% of millennials get their news through social media sites, so I anticipate that independent journalists will continue to trend upward thanks to Instagram, TikTok, X, Substack and other popular platforms.

Another interesting trend that’s happened in the past year is the pop-up of new media outlets. There’s no shortage of new online outlets popping up with news and content geared to a specific audience. Houston Landing and Energy Capital HTX are two based in Houston that rolled out just this year. The media landscape is alive and thriving, assuming there’s a reporter available!

2023 PR Losers:
Alright, this one might rattle some folks, but the biggest dud in 2023 for me was AI in PR. Yes, it’s supposed to save time and yes, it can supposedly help you write and knock things out (like a press release or blog post with keywords); however, the technology isn’t there yet and that’s for everyday users. In specialized industries with technical terms or more advanced products or technologies, you’d be better off just doing the work yourself than spending time trying to get a faulty tool to sort it out. Remember what your mother said, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

The other big loser for me in 2023 was events and trade shows. After the Covid cancellation years, many of us were looking forward to a supercharged industry event with cocktails, presentations and networking. Unfortunately, it seems like events have gotten either too broad or too specific, creating confusion for potential attendees. What’s more, either the same speakers are cherry-picked to speak or event organizers have such a broad agenda that they’re looking to fill seats. Neither option is a good look and for events to be successful, we should look for a happy medium between a one-size-fits-all approach and a microevent. 

Now onto my predictions for 2024…

Biggest PR Winner: My biggest PR winner prediction will be those journalists and outlets that take time to dig deep and write a really comprehensive, compelling article. We know reporters are on deadline to get a piece out, but those reporters that take time to tell all sides of a story are few and far between. As the media landscape multiplies, those willing to dig in and research and do quality work will be invaluable to every reader in every industry. Think how much we all loved Amy Davis’ reporting on the City of Houston’s water bill crisis – that was great reporting!

Bigger PR Loser: The biggest PR loser of 2024 will, unfortunately, continue to be the mainstream media. With such distrust among viewership and so many independent journalists, people will continue to source their news and information with outlets that they align with – on social media no less. Gone are the days are investigating, reading and then forming an opinion (with a healthy debate on the side).

What are your biggest predictions for 2024?

All the best,