Shifts in the Media Landscape Amidst COVID-19

March 27, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the media landscape has transformed both operationally and in terms of content being produced within a matter of weeks, and we expect it will continue to evolve. Keeping our finger on the pulse of the situation, MMGY NJF has tapped our expansive database of close press contacts to conduct a comprehensive audit surrounding tourism-related coverage and how journalists are approaching their stories during this current news cycle.

The good news is many writers are receptive to pitches and receiving client news. While almost every publication has paused their “go here now” coverage, many are still open to covering destinations and hospitality brands under the lens of “inspirational” travel stories, so long as pitches are thoughtful during this time. Most journalists still want to maintain the status quo on news about significant announcements and openings.

The below outlines some of the feedback we have received from our media audit and is helpful to keep in mind when ideating potential initiatives or conducting outreach. For ongoing media relations on behalf of our clients, these are the parameters we are following and will keep adapting as the situation continues to unfold. We are monitoring journalists’ media coverage interests daily and talking with our close contacts so that we can continue to provide timely information.

Stay tuned for more – and stay healthy!

Journalists Are Very Receptive To Pitches:

  • Pitches should be extremely thoughtful, relevant and “in good taste.” Think: Would this pitch age well when you reread it in five months time?
  • Pitches should be personalized – versus email blasts – catering to the journalist and their outlet(s).
  • Pitches should be informative and entertaining to readers, cutting through all the current noise.


  • Journalists are doing virtual meetings in lieu of desksides, especially when it comes to an upcoming opening/launch. Keep in mind: They have already started to get an overwhelming amount of virtual meeting requests, so be mindful of the ask.
  • Many are open to receiving mailers; please check with the particular journalist before sending anything.
  • Many are receptive to potential summer press trips so long as there is flexibility with cancelations given the uncertainty of the current situation.

Pitch Topics/Trends:

  • Human interest stories that speak to the personal and economic impacts on the industry, resulting from the spread of COVID-19:
    • Ways travelers can support the travel and hospitality industry
    • A spotlight on people making a difference
    • Profiles on brands/specific individuals to speak on how they/the industry have been impacted
  • “Armchair travel” is the buzzword. Condé Nast Traveler created a dedicated landing page. The Daily Beast launched their “The Armchair Traveler” series, and outlets such as Travel + LeisureSmithsonianFathom have been using this buzzword in their editorial requests and coverage. Opportunities include:
    • Virtual experiences (though T+L’s Editor-in-Chief sees this as a short-term trend)
    • Bringing travel into your home
    • Live web cams
    • Recipes to make in quarantine
    • Travel-inspired content (books, movies, podcasts, TV, etc.)
  • Travel inspiration for the future:
    • Outlets like Business Insider and Buzzfeed have added disclaimers noting they understand people can’t travel now but want to distract readers from isolation/inspire travel for later
    • Some lifestyle outlets like PureWow have hit pause on travel altogether
  • Thought leadership stories and for “how to” tips:
    • How to make the most of quarantining (i.e. recipes from their favorite restaurants/hotels/bars, best grooming/wellness practices, design how-to’s, etc.)
    • Great way to appeal to lifestyle outlets who have paused travel coverage

Several publications, including Travel + LeisureCondé Nast TravelerAFARSkift and more, have published op-eds about the current situation and how they’re managing. TimeOut even temporarily changed their logo to “Time In” to guide readers to make the most of their cities from home.