Once again, we surveyed 200 journalists to learn about their news release preferences and new media usage. This year, participating journalists were from all media types with print most heavily represented: 49% from newspaper and 27% from magazines. Our journalists came from all beats and regions of the country.
To get a better idea of how the media landscape is changing, we asked our participants if they currently contribute to an on-line site or blog. Sixty-three percent say they do and 52% of those respondents tell us they've added these duties in the past 2 years–a good guage for how quickly news creation (and consumption) is shifting to the web.
As in the past, the overwhelming majority of journalists told us they prefer to receive news releases via email: 92% (versus 3% who prefer old fashioned snail mail and 3% who prefer on-line news rooms). Traditional wires, RSS feeds and social media were the least popular option all garnering 0%.
A whopping 88% tell us that receiving easily downloadable images with a release is (very) important (but not as attachments—we got an earful about email that clogs inboxes with attached jpegs and PDFs and a few comments about the incompatibility of docx files). Journalists also want to receive easily usable verbiage from releases (78%) along with relevant backgrounders, bios, and other related info (82%). As in the past, logos were less popular with only 35% indicating they were (very) important.
As journalists adjust to a more web friendly news climate, assets like video and embeddable content are becoming more attractive to them. This year, 35% of respondents told us that video is a (very) important asset to receive with releases (roughly the same as last year’s 35% but significantly up from 2008’s 25%). Moreover, an increasing number of journalists, 31%, indicate that they want embed codes with video and audio so they can easily grab and transfer to their own sites (compared to 29% who said that was important last year). Access to other types of embeddable content was also important with 34% of journalists claiming that receiving web content such as Slideshare presentations was (very) important (versus 30% last year).
As in the past, we asked them an open ended question: tell us if you have any additional comments about how your receive releases. In general, journalists told us that releases must evolve. They like email but not attachments (or docx files). Rather, they want links to easily accessible and transferable assets, especially images. Click here to read the unedited responses. Here’s a sampling…
Press releases must evolve to the new needs of media; some agencies are stuck in old models and do not understand what news outlooks are looking for. Look.. .we are a magazine, web site and community. How do your press releases impact those platforms is a question you must consider. Good luck.
Our needs have changed due to an increasingly small staff and a greater concentration on our digital platform. Time is not a luxury anymore but a commodity, if we can received items by email will speed up the process of distributing or using it for the web or print.
An image and logo on the first contact press release is IMMENSELY helpful. We spend hours of our days chasing down logos/images that can be spent generating content. Also, know what is on the client's Web site. Is it a template-based site with a thumbnail logo? If so, that is of no use to us. Additionally, use photos in your pitches, especially when you are pitching a product of any kind. It doesn't need to be high res for the pitch. I edit family magazines and I receive countless emails telling me about an adorable new baby product with no image! I want to see it. The emotional/visual impact will save you hours of slaving over a press release.
To learn a bit more about how journalists are using new media resources to research stories we asked them what sources they use most frequently. Predictably, 91% use search engines for research with electronic press kits received via email coming in at second place with 67%. On-line press rooms were also very popular with 54% of journalists saying they use them in stories. Blogs (43%), social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook (42%), RSS feeds (20%) and podcasts and videocasts (17%) are other resources journalists say they’re using for research.
Asked about the impact new media has had on their work, we got a variety of responses. Most respondents told us that new media has made their lives easier, allowing them more and quicker access to information and opening up new opportunities for publishing and communicating. Others, however, said they’re “overwhelmed” and feel new media is making their jobs harder, even putting those jobs at risk. Click here to read the unedited responses in full. Here are a few of our favorites:
The advent of New Media has allowed our organization to do deeper background research, and the inclusion of multimedia content on our website and in our e-newsletters has allowed us to provide our readership with a more in-depth look at stories than we were able to in the past with print or static web content alone.
It has increased our workload considerably, but it has also given us many more ways to collect and distribute information. It's exciting, but at times overwhelming.
I used to deliver 1-3 features on each resort that I visited to the magazines and inflights. Now I can contribute to several other outlets online. More ink.
While some espouse the value of social media, others find it irrelevant or confusing:
Email delivery of releases and images is by far the most important factor. Social Media is not reliable and much of it is irrelevant.
You can often send out a request for sources or information via social media very quickly and get immediate responses. It's a fantastic time saver.
To view charts of all questions and responses click here.
We appreciated the participation of so many in the media and hope you found it useful. If you have questions you'd like asked send them our way for our on-going conversations.