Social Media Making Strides with Journalists but Don’t Count Email Out

Social Media Making Strides with Journalists but Don’t Count Email Out
February 27, 2014 PRSADesigner

Even though social media is changing the communication dynamics of journalism, email still reins supreme when it comes to pitching to the media.

A survey of more than 250 journalists across broadcast, print, and online found that the media is evolving with the times by leveraging social media, mobile, and digital platforms. Compiled by the cloud-based marketing and public relations software firm Vocus, Inc., the annual “State of the Media Report” examines traditional and social media during 2013 and how the two mediums are connecting to create and deliver content.

The majority of respondents noted that social media is undeniably changing the way conversations are being held, how topics are being looked at, and bringing to light stories that otherwise would have been hard to find or missed completely.

From driving traffic to audience engagement, here are some key findings on how journalists are using social media:

• 51% of journalists use social media to promote their stories

• 49% of journalists use social to connect with viewers and readers

• Of the reporters that use social media to promote their stories, 87% use Twitter and 79% use Facebook

• All other social networks lagged significantly, with LinkedIn coming in third at 26%, Google+ at 19%, and YouTube at 13%

Social media and its limitations

While most journalists are finding ways to leverage social media, they have also found limits to its effectiveness including:

• When journalists are pitched ideas for stories, 91% of reporters prefer email, while only 2.7% prefer social

• Only 30% use social media for research

• More than 95% of journalists don’t believe social is a trustworthy source

• 45% of reporters don’t want to be pitched at all via social media, but 37% would receive a pitch via Facebook and 30% would receive one via Twitter

“Email still seems to be the primary business communications vehicle of choice,” said Julie Dennehy, president, PRSA Boston Chapter. “Social media is an excellent tool for listening and for research, but there is nothing more powerful than a well-crafted, personalized pitch email to a journalist. All the digital tools are important, but ultimately a persuasive pitch is the primary media relations tool for communication with key influencers and journalists.”

Traditional media in it for the long haul

The report also examined the state of traditional media and found that rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated. Thanks to technological capabilities, most notably streaming content delivery systems and paywalls, traditional media is working to use technology to its advantage and solidify its footing. Key media findings in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio include:

• Compared to 152 newspaper closures in 2012, the study found 114 folded in 2013. Fifty-nine were weekly, while 20 were online closures.

• Magazine launches are gradually decreasing year to year, with only 97 new magazines debuting in 2013. This is compared to the 165 in 2012 and the 195 in 2011. Out of the new magazines, 59 were print and 38 were online launches

• Almost 100 television shows launched this year, which included local newscasts, national sports, and talk shows on cable and broadcast networks. Several political and financial shows also made debuts on PBS, CNBC, and MSNBC

• As was the case last year, radio’s audience continues to rise. Over the past year, radio added 700,000 weekly listeners, reaching more than 241.8 million listeners overall

The complete “State of the Media Report” report can be downloaded here.

Post Author

Franceen Shaughnessy, PRSA Boston member and PRSA Boston Blog Editor.

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