According to a media study conducted by PR Newswire, the media profession is still in flux. The economy, a transition to online social media, and the inherent additional duties of reporters were cited as causes for this continued state of uncertainty for many journalists. The good news is that outside the negatives, good opportunities do exist for PR and journalists.
A total of 2,174 media experts from traditional and non-traditional media were quizzed to determine how these variables have affected their profession. From bloggers to TV reporters, the study reveals an interesting shift in the way these professionals conduct their activities, and the ways they perceive the future of the business. Editor in Chief of PRWeek, Keith O’Brien, had this to say about the opportunities for public relations and the media:
“There is a great opportunity for PR professionals to utilize these multiplying avenues to increase coverage of their clients. But this also means it’s even more imperative for PR pros to carefully consider the needs and schedules of the reporters and bloggers that they plan to pitch. The competition for content makes seasoned PR professionals a valuable asset.”
In the report, the pressure for traditional reporters and news people to step up was made evident. With the economy the way it is, and additional pressures from online media, many are feeling the competition in a painful awakening. Job security, and in some cases, feasibility have become central issues for many as the course of reporting and news changes. However, the shift to social media has opened up other avenues for PR professionals to present news and ideas, while adding channels for traditional reporting too. Here are the findings in a nutshell.
- Print media is on the decline, while more emphsis is focused on the web over the next 3 years. 42% of print reporters expect job losses compared to 26% asked the same questions last year. 50’% of journalists are now considering careers outside their chosen field.
- 20% of media professionals cite having greater responsibility and 70% of respondents indicate a heavier workload this year than last. The increased workload is attributed to the added time to report online. 68% of those surveyed are now writing for online news sections. 28% of media respondents are now blogging for their employers as well.
- Pressure has caused the lines between editorial and advertising duties to be blurred. 56% t of print magazine professionals suggested a significant influence from advertising onto editorial content.
- According to the 2009 survey, 61% of media professionals rarely use blogs for research. About half the bloggers surveyed worked for traditional media companies before. Of bloggers who were once traditional journalists, less than 40% consider themselves in journalists in their current positions.
- Facebook and LinkedIn use among reporters increased significantly from 2008 to 2009. 58% of those surveyed are on Facebook, while 51% have a LinkedIn profile, compared with 29% and 32% last year. The numbers of reporters with social media profiles is increasing across other social networks as well.
The Move To Social
Most journalists responding prefer PR professionals to pitch them via e-mail. Reporters contend that pitches via this method are more readily identified as being contextual for their story line or topical area. Also, the report accentuated most reporters opinion that PR professionals are a necessary component of good journalism. Some 31 percent5 of the professional reporters surveyed said they had also been pitched via social networking services like Twitter.
Preaching this evident transition for the last 3 years has often led to some conflict with those determined to resist change. Traditional business of any kind is subject to new methods once technology and communication methodologies alter the ways in which people are engaged. Of course the recent economic woes have accentuated the ways in which journalists and traditional news people engage in their professions. However, “the conversation” between consumers and those wanting to reach them is the incontrovertible reason PR and media need to confrom to a new way of communicating. The report from PR Newswire simply verifies what many have known for some time, news and communication will never be the same now that everyone is part of this discourse.