The fifth annual Oriella PR Network’s 12-page Global Digital Journalism Study was published recently, and while there weren’t many surprises in the results, several items are noteworthy to those of us here in the U.S.
The press release (as the first go-to source for journalists’ research) declined yet again, but don’t let that fool you. It is still the third highest choice out of 12 options in the survey. Interviews with a corporate spokesperson increased slightly and remain the number one go-to source. Oh, and remember the SMNR (social media news release) that everyone was talking about a few years ago? Not a single mention of them this year! From my experience, PR folks are including links to video, audio and blogs in our releases, but that’s just part of a press (or news) release in 2012 and there’s no need to call it by a different name.
Whether online or offline, credibility is a key consideration for Media. This year’s findings showed a retro shift from crowd-sourcing and pre-packaged stories (via press releases) back to input from trusted sources. “Brands wishing to make their voices (or those of their experts) heard…need to put more effort into developing clear points of view, expressing them plainly across all platforms, and building networks of supports—both online and off.” This would indicate a return to more traditional journalism and thus the return of traditional media relations tactics. That’s not to say journalists aren’t sourcing stories via social media. They are, but there must be a pre-existing relationship or the source must be recognized (in some way) as trustworthy.
Journalists as Publishers
This year, for the first time, the study asked journalists about their personal use of digital media channels in an effort to see whether they are using these channels to build their own personal brand separately from that of their employer media outlet. The results were not surprising in that a large number (in the U.S.) are, in fact, using personal blogs, individual Twitter feed, their own YouTube channel, etc. What I thought was interesting, is what the survey did not find much in the way of outlets restricting journalists’ personal use of social media. They suggest, and I agree, that this is likely indicative of publications realizing they will benefit from the journalist building well-known public personas.
The study’s writers note in the end that “journalists are working harder and they’re also working smarter. They are not taking canned stories in the form of press releases at face value and instead are using a wider range of assets to convey their narratives.” And, with this new class of digital journalists, their expectations of brand communications are now different than before. Primarily that credibility is crucial, and digital storytelling is key—supporting brand stories (press releases) with video, images, infographs, etc.
Do your recent media relations experiences jive with this study? Or how do they differ?