In discussing the future of newspapers, Jeff Jarvis makes an articulate case for a new business model for the post-industrial economy:
"When you think of news instead as the province of an ecosystem that is distributed and owned at the edges by many players operating under many means, motives, and models, then the notion of contribution, ownership, and control changes. People own their own stakes but they benefit by joining together cooperatively. They create a tide upon which all their ships rise. That’s a network, not a company."
Among the comments, someone points out that this is idealistic. Yet Jarvis cites some thriving examples of the community model (Wikipedia, Craigslist) and idealism begins to look realistic once all other avenues have been explored.
Apart from the importance of news channels to public relations, there are wider implications here too. It's possible to see public relations in a community engagement role; its purpose being legitimacy and licence to operate over the longer term rather than short-term profits.