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Pinkston Institute Releases New Research on the Future of Op-Eds in Today’s Digital Media Landscape

Research shows that traditional thought leadership approaches to earned media must change as new digital platforms emerge.

Pinkston Institute today released "The State of the Op-Ed," a white paper examining the changing role of the op-ed, a traditional thought leadership platform, amid the growing complexities of today’s digital media landscape. As public interest in executive’s voices on important issues grows, the white paper will equip executives with the perspective they need to build an effective communication platform in a changing media landscape.

“Understanding the rise of new op-ed platforms is crucial for thought leaders who want to maintain an impactful presence in their industry,” said David W. Fouse, partner and lead strategist at Pinkston. “Digital readership has far surpassed print readership, and while opinion columns and editorials still have an important place in thought leadership strategies, many publications are adopting new mechanisms to supplement, and in some cases entirely replace, the traditional op-ed model. Executives must be prepared and equipped to evolve.”

In its research, Pinkston Institute studied the top U.S. newspapers by circulation and the top business publications to assess the state of the op-ed in the modern era. It found that although the traditional op-ed is still an effective source of earned media, the ever-transforming digital landscape is pushing thought leaders to discover new platforms for sharing their opinions.

Companies like The New York Times Media that have embraced digital platforms for op-eds have seen significant growth in revenue, employment and readership. Because of this, executives, scholars and experts who want to remain actively engaged in thought leadership must be nimble and creative enough to embrace increasingly diversified types of commentary, including online editorials, social media, newsletters, podcasts, and more.  Video and audio content is also being used to supplement the traditional op-ed.

“Readers are constantly sifting through an influx of information,” said Pinkston partner and founder Christian Pinkston. “Innovation is becoming increasingly important, as outlets, reporters and thought leaders fight against greater competition and shorter attention spans. The good news is that we are entering an exciting era in media that allows for new ideas and more creative forms of expression.”

According to Pinkston Institute, the changing digital media landscape calls for a renewal in the approach that executives, and anyone who wants to advance the thinking of their industry, take to developing communication platforms and content. Like any transition, this shift poses certain challenges, but allows for innovative and creative ways to connect a story with the right audience. Thought leaders who are willing to engage with audiences in new and diverse ways are poised to take full advantage of these trends.

To download The State of the Op-Ed research, click here.

About Pinkston

Founded in 2001, Pinkston was launched with the goal of creating a new kind of public relations firm with the flexibility and ingenuity to provide individualized solutions for clients in a wide range of industries. Pinkston provides smarter, more strategic public relations services that are focused on positioning individuals, companies and nonprofits as leaders in their fields.

About Pinkston Institute

Founded in 2019, Pinkston Institute conducts and publishes original research on public relations topics geared toward industry leaders as well as public and private companies and nonprofits. The Institute studies the dynamic nature of public relations in the modern media era and how executives, scholars and others can take advantage of new tools and strategies to position themselves as leaders in their fields.