An Afternoon with The Philadelphia Inquirer

I recently had the opportunity to tour The Philadelphia Inquirer’s office (thanks, Maven and Philadelphia Public Relations Association!), sit in on their afternoon meeting, and chat one-on-one with editors Ariella Cohen, Bryan Lowry, Letitia Stein, and Senior Vice President Gabriel Escobar. During this exclusive look at one of Philadelphia’s largest news sources, I learned about major updates we can expect to see both online and in print, as well as their day-to-day schedules. Here are a few of my key takeaways:

Newspapers rely on SEO just as much as anyone else.

The Inquirer has a staff dedicated to tracking key SEO and meta terms throughout the day, and that plays a large role in dictating their coverage and headlines. Each morning, someone performs a local and national SEO search to see what the public is most interested in. The paper then uses that information to map out their daily content and capitalize on national news. The takeaway here for public relations practitioners is that trends are more important than ever. Why the push? The paper is looking to gain younger subscribers.

They’re looking to create more digital stories.

For those who follow The Inquirer on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that they have been producing a lot of reels lately. Utilizing social media, specifically posting videos, is a way that they can create more dynamic stories and reach a new audience. Yes, part of this has to do with following social trends, but this is also an effort to compete with social media platforms being used as primary news sources. It’s about meeting Generation Z where they are, with the content that they respond to. The takeaway? If your clients’ news has a visual element or community piece to it, The Inquirer might pick it up and turn it into a reel rather than a traditional article.

A shift away from op-eds.

The team let us in on something unfortunate: op-eds (known as opinion editorials) have not been performing well. While The Inquirer is still looking to produce about one op-ed less frequently, they are finding more readers are interested in letters to the editor (a short piece written by a community member that addresses an issue which impacts a community).  These letters typically highlight a diverse community voice who speaks to something that many can relate to or find important. For PR practitioners, this means keeping a close ear out for different individuals within our client’s organization that have a unique voice and are willing to share it.

The reporter and public relations practitioner relationship is just as important and mutually beneficial as ever, which is why Maven is constantly connecting with local media and learning how we can further position our clients. Interested in how Maven can help position your brand? Let’s connect!

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