The Presidential Election of 2012 may be over, along with its debates and differing points of view, but the issues of the 2012 election are just beginning to take on life and play out in the daily local and national newscasts of 2013.
Several organizations, including the Poynter Institute, have completed studies on some of the important stories in the year ahead. These studies however, were completed prior to the tragic events of Friday, December 14, 2012 when 20 children were senselessly gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut.
This horrific incident, as the President noted in his address to the families of the victims, will no doubt lead to serious debate and discussion about gun laws and mental health issues. In fact, a concern over the safety of all Americans can now be expected to lead local and national media coverage in the days ahead and in the New Year.
Some of the other issues that media watchers agree will make headlines in 2013 include:
- Healthcare and Medicare reform;
- Economy and job creation;
- Environment or climate change; and
- Foreign trade impacts on agriculture and manufacturing.
2013 may prove to be a challenging year for reporters and news producers who will be trying to digest and explain how new, intricate policies set into motion in Washington, D.C. will trickle down and affect thousands of families in their local communities. After a rancorous election season, and even more heated post-election debate about the direction of the country, reporters will be turning to experts to clarify, give background and perspective on policy regulations that are about to alter the lives of many Americans.
Reporters will need to deepen their knowledge on the future of healthcare, and sort through the impacts of “reform.” They will need to grasp key pocketbook issues that deal with the consumer price index, inflation, a possible recession, and probable tax increases. They will be tracking job growth, earnings, housing starts, housing sales, and fluctuation in the economy and its impact on families. Speaking of impact, stress and mental health issues related to the economy may also become a leading news topic, as families continue to struggle with financial uncertainty.
On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, extreme weather in 2012 has reignited the conversation over climate change, and it appears that environmental stories may get more coverage in 2013 with reporters looking to experts to help them analyze and translate scientific studies into relevant information for viewers and listeners. Some of these will likely include climate treaties, the development of new technologies, the growth of green industries, and the passage of carbon taxes.
In 2013, it is likely that more and more global issues will be viewed through a local lens. Everything from food prices to energy prices are influenced by international events bubbling up across the globe and that will have an impact on our local household budgets. The future of our factories, our manufacturing plants, and our farming communities will depend on how well we understand the relationship between the U.S. and other world economies. The role of reporters will be to broaden the perspective of their listeners and find the bonds between global issues and their local communities.
For public relations specialists, this is an especially good time to be looking for a pool of experts ready to talk about all of the issues surrounding healthcare reform, various facets of the economy, job creation, the environment, and the relationship between the U.S. and foreign trade. These are the experts who will be extremely sought after when it comes to booking interviews with radio and television stations in 2013. And even more valuable are experts who can explain to listeners how events on the world stage will influence circumstances in their local communities and backyards.