The recession for PR folks actually began in 2000 when non-marketing professionals figured out that by posting a news release on a wire service, they could show tons of "clips" to their bosses that stated, verbatim, the corporate crap in the releases. They no longer needed press relations budgets and had become their own "news outlets." Google did that to the PR profession.
But recently, Google did a big favor for the hacks when they changed their algorithm to cut out hits on content farms. This, effectively, eliminated the budget benefit of bad-press-releases-on-wire-services strategy.
I haven't done any press releases for companies for a while because they are really useless exercises, but I got roped into a contract with a company, after getting promises that they wouldn't have me do the same old thing, that forced me into that really bad strategy once again. I noticed very quickly that when the release hit the wire, It showed up only once in Google, under the wire service I used. Now the service gave me links to where it could be found elsewhere, but those links never showed up on Google. This is a big change.
There were other hits, but they came from sites that I had personally developed a relationship with; that I had developed a strategy to reach and convince to cover the story. There were conversations with other influencers that said they would keep an eye on the story as it developed, but unfortunately, for this project, I would not be around to keep the momentum going. It was up to the client to maintain and develop relationships... and of course they are not, because they don't know how. Now they are wondering why it isn't working the way it used to.
So we are almost back to the way it was before 2000. Trying to run public relations on the cheap is a good way to wast money and watch your company die. Time to rethink your strategies.