“Journalists Overworked, Blogging and Being Pitched Via Twitter and Facebook” – 2009 PRWeek / PR Newswire Media Survey 8


Today PR Week announced the findings of their “2009 PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey,” which detailed some of the ways in which journalists are trying to adapt to the digital evolution of their craft (without leaving the industry), in the midst of an economic collapse on Wall Street and Madison Ave.

The survey, sponsored by PR Newswire and PRWeek, polled a total of 2,174 traditional and non-traditional media, including newspaper and magazine journalists, television, radio and online reporters, and bloggers. Its objective was to assess the attitudes and ideas of traditional journalists and bloggers, specifically regarding their duties, workload, interaction with PR professionals, and opinions of the future of media industry.

Not surprisingly, the findings on attitudes within the industry and opinions about the future were rather glum:

  • 50% of media professionals are now considering a career outside of journalism (Maybe even on the “dark side”)
  • 62% of newspaper journalists anticipating “declines in print circulation and increased focus on the web” over the next three years
  • 42% of print reporters expect to see “reductions in staff” as compared to 26% expressing the same concern last year

Those that haven’t lost their jobs are transitioning to reporting online, but with an even heavier workload:

  • 70% of respondents indicating a heavier workload this year than last
  • 68% are now tasked with writing for online news sections, compared to 38% in 2008
  • Further, 28% of media respondents are blogging for their traditional publication, a 6% increase from 2008

Also, not that surprising, but nevertheless unsettling, is journalists understanding that advertising is having an increased influence over editorial content in the downturn, as publishers look to reward big brands that are still willing to spend within their publication or news hour.

  • 56% percent of print magazine professionals suggested that there is a “slight to heavy” influence of advertising on editorial content while 43% of TV professionals indicated a similar pressure

Now that we’ve made it through the rather depressing findings, let’s look at how journalists are getting social and interacting with PR professionals.

  • 80% of journalists prefer email as the desired pitch method
  • 58% are on Facebook and 51% have a LinkedIn profile
  • 22% are on Twitter
  • 31% of media professionals have been pitched via a social network, such as Facebook or Twitter
  • Only 23% say they do not have a social network profile. In 2008, the number was 46%

The social numbers are probably a lot lower than most of us on the leading edge of communications and marketing would expect, given that we see folks like Jon Byrne promoting lists of his journalists on Twitter. However, PR Week takes a broad sampling of media across industries – with some a lot slower to convert.

That said, given the direction of the industry, we should only expect the use of these digital channels to grow, and the PR industry must lead (and in some cases follow) the conversations there.

In a recent internal survey that we ran at Racepoint, 91% of our respondents (56 employees), indicated that they have personal Twitter handles. The majority of those with handles noted business use (including media interaction) as their main use of Twitter. Why? Journalists are becoming more accepting of interacting with PR folk  through new digital channels (especially channels like Twitter that they’re obsessed with covering). PR Week’s findings back-up that 31% of journalists have been pitched through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. While they still may hold onto email (the least intrusive to their daily beats and agendas) as their most preferred channel, they’re becoming open to what PR practitioners may be able to alert them to our provide via these channels.

As John Markoff of the New York Times, noted to us back in September (in the interview embedded below), mainstream journalists are still trying to figure out how to best use Twitter, while being careful not to have their original story ideas taken by other individuals and competing outlets.

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