A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Amy Mitchell speak in St. Louis at the annual joint meeting of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC), of which BurrellesLuce was a sponsor. Mitchell, a native of St. Louis, is the deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEW PEJ).
Mitchell spoke to a group of roughly 250 communicators about the new news consumer and media trends for 2011. It was an intensive presentation complete with plenty of charts, graphs and statistics. I won’t attempt to recap everything that was addressed but, here are some of my key takeaways:
- No surprise that there is more news consumed now than a decade ago with 33 percent of Americans getting news via mobile devices, and 92 percent reporting the use of multiple platforms to get their news.
- Internet is closing in but 74 percent still go to television for national and international news.
- More of us “graze” for news with two minutes and 30 seconds being the average session per site, down from three minutes and six seconds last year – compared to about a half an hour with a daily newsprint product.
- Sixty-two percent of internet users are on social media, and 77 percent of social network users get their news there.
- Facebook is the third most popular referral site for news articles – following only Google and the original news site.
Contrary to those naysayers that keep saying print media is dead, this “old” media still provides most of our news! In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.
There are lots of new players in the news game: citizens, non-profits, patch (local), commercial entities, corporate communications, newsmakers, privately funded sites, lobby and special interest groups. However, those producing news today have less control than ever in history.
Mitchell said, “While news in the 21st century offers greater freedom today than ever to take part in the news conversations, it brings with it greater effort and responsibility.”
So what does all this mean to you? Obviously social networks are a very important distribution channel, but PR professionals must adapt to the “new” journalism – as a service, not a product that is platform specific. Communicators must be transparent with corporate messaging. What is your organization doing to adapt to the changing media landscape?