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HomeNewsPR pros and journalists must continue to work together to build public trust, Cision report finds

PR pros and journalists must continue to work together to build public trust, Cision report finds

PR pro and reporter shaking hands

This past year has been a challenging one for the media industry. Members of the press have had to contend with physical attacks, accusations of fake news and the rapid spread of misinformation. Social media has been a particularly difficult place to navigate, with complex updates to data privacy laws and sudden changes in newsfeed algorithms.

However, amid this formidable environment, there’s a glimmer of hope: Trust in the media might actually be on the rise.

According to Cision’s 2019 Global State of the Media Report, which collected responses from 1,999 journalists in 10 countries, relevance and trust are more important than ever.

Responses reflect growing concerns around the changing role of social media, an increasing reliance on data-driven storytelling and positive shifts in perceptions of trust. In this fragmented, dynamic media environment, we have an opportunity to become even more reliable partners with our media counterparts.

Top takeaways for PR pros

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer found that roughly half the public population does not trust the media. The 2019 Cision survey asked journalists whether they believed the public’s trust in them was rising or falling. A majority of journalists, 63%, believe the public lost trust in the media in 2019. While that seems high, the numbers are trending in the right direction: In 2018, 71% believed the pubic had lost trust in them; in 2017, that figure was 91%.

One possible side effect of the constant attacks on journalism around “fake news”? As this issue has received more attention, it may have actually created a more informed public.

More important, survey results tell us that the media industry needs to continue to work to regain and build public trust. That’s a big challenge when news cycles are more tumultuous than ever and technology makes increasing demands on everyone at an increasingly faster pace.

The insatiable news cycle coupled with the rise of opaque social media algorithms have built a publishing model that incentivizes quick turnarounds, giving journalists shorter lead time on stories and making their relationship with us more important than ever.

Of the journalists polled, 27% said their relationships with PR professionals had gotten more valuable in 2019.

The reason? Journalists are facing fewer resources and reduced staff, which is reflected in how they do their jobs:

  • Forty-two percent of respondents plan for future stories no more than a day in advance.
  • Thirty-five percent of journalists publish seven or more articles a week.

PR pros should take note. It’s important to be more respectful than ever of journalists’ time by sending targeted, relevant pitches. Forty-four percent of respondents said the No. 1 thing we can do is to better understand their target audience. Before sending a pitch, we should research the end consumer of the content and know who we’re pitching and what they find interesting.

While most of us already operate this way, the fact that some do not is reflected in the stats: 75% of journalists say less than a quarter of the pitches they receive are relevant or useful.

When crafting a pitch, consider that 65% of journalists would rather receive customized press releases segmented by product, industry or theme rather than one mass-audience release.

The bottom line

It’s no secret the media industry is facing new challenges at unprecedented speeds. These challenges affect not only journalists but the PR and communications pros who work with them. With that relationship becoming more valuable than ever to both sides, it’s important for us to recognize how we can make journalists’ lives easier by building more targeted, impactful pitches that keep the end consumer in mind.

Want more details? Download the full 2019 State of the Media Report here.

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