Lately, there has been much discussion and debate on my Medill School of Journalism alumni list-serv about what constitutes "mainstream media."
Of course, the phrase is often used in the context of claims that the aforementioned nebulous institution is biased, out-of-touch and worthy of tongue-lashings from all quarters.
On a related note, someone recently got huffy with Peter Shankman's Help A Reporter Out source-and-storyteller matching service. The reason they unsubscribed from his so-called HARO: he was including too many source requests from bloggers in his thrice-daily (Monday-Friday) outreach.
To me, much of it shakes out thusly: what influence and impact does a given entity--whether it's a person, a website, an organization, or whatever--have on your target audience?
In some cases, a blog with a relatively small, but intensely interested, passionate and motivated following, can represent a much better and more relevant "hit" than a national publication with a huge, but diffuse, reach.
Anyone seeking to increase their sales, their profile, or otherwise attain a goal needs to intelligently assess the entire landscape of communications outlets--and it's growing bigger and murkier by the hour--and then make thoughtful decisions about where to devote its story-telling resources.
Today's mainstream may well be tomorrow's footnote, and today's alternative media may well be tomorrow's mainstream.
Terminology aside, if you're a publicist, this is my bottom line: If your media outreach list isn't constantly evolving, then you're not paying nearly enough attention.