Journalists Tell Us Their News Release Do's & Don'ts
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    February 201
2014 Journalist Survey
Part Two: How journalists are using the web for research
Last month, we shared loads of info on what journalists want from news releases. (If you missed it, you can check it out here.) But in our recent survey of 239 journalists, we also learned a bit about their research habits.

75% of journalists told us they use their own inboxes to research story ideas
It’s no surprise that they’re conducting research online. Our participants cited search engines as their number one online resource (79%). But, digital releases received via email came in a close second, with 75% of respondents telling us they mine their own inboxes for story ideas. In addition, social media was cited as useful (63%) as are blogs (57%) and online newsrooms (54%).
Project Spotlight

The sweetest day of the year deserves a delicious New Media Release. Check out this journalist-friendly release from Sweet Secrets. It landed right in the inboxes of targeted journalists, just where our study shows they conduct their research. And has the transferable assets that increase pick-up.

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Journalists are also using smartphones and tablets
for research now

And this research is not just happening at boring old desks. In addition to conducting research on their laptops (98%), they’re also using smart phones (26%) and tablets (20%).


Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also scored high
as useful research tools

And it’s not just the devices that are changing. Their use of social media continues to grow as well.  In this survey, we asked what social media components or sites they have used when working on a story: Facebook (82%), Twitter (65%) and LinkedIn (56%) were the most popular.  Twenty four percent of respondents also told us they’re using social media bookmarks when they research stories (so don’t forget to include one in your next New Media Release!)


Publishing too has shifted to the web, even for respondents with traditional print roles—73% of our respondents are now publishing online.

Content Tip Focus Call-to-Action
Strengthen your Call-to-Action by focusing on a single social media platform—add a Twttier wiki, Pinterest pin or highlight a single asset by making it easily sharable across platforms.
Design Tip Make it visible
Keep your social media call to action above the fold and select icons that are used across your brand assets or, if that’s not applicable, work well with the piece’s branding.
Delivery Tip Go mobile-friendly
Increase your visibility on mobile devices by including a preheader—like a second subject line visible on mobile only—of approximately 65-75 characters.
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What They SaidAs always, we asked journalists to tell us in their own words how the shift to digital has changed the way research and publishing happens. You can check out all their unedited responses here. But to give you the flavor, we found that most respondents had positive things to say, often citing easier access to useful assets and increased speed of research, but others noted that it's made their jobs harder and still others that its a "mixed bag." Here's a quick sampling…

Info is now available ASAP from your computer. Not all would-be sources are media-ready so if it's a choice between "A" and "B" and "A" has better content, images, media availability, I'll go with "A," every time.

The biggest advantage is access to downloadable images.

The kits make the work easier.

Too much unimportant data, just TOO MUCH social media.

I spend 12-14 hours a day on the #$%^& computer! I sometimes miss the days of trade shows and phone calls for information. Sometimes if I can't find it (be it product or company or both) online and easily, then I am less likely to cover it. Also, because so much information IS available online and immediately, I feel the need for companies or PR reps to respond to requests. If I can't find a person to contact, or they don't return a response, I will not pursue working with the company/brand.

It's easier and faster, but the information is less reliable.

arrow   Read More Quotes from 2014 Journalist Survey

arrow   View PWR's 2014 Journalist Survey, Part 1


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Working with so many PR professionals, the PWR team believes it is essential to keep informed on what journalists want from releases and how the digital shift is changing how the media works so we can help our clients best meet the needs of the press. We hope this info is informative and look forward to sharing more tips from the media in issues of Powerlines to come!