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Cision recently released its 14th annual Global State of the Media Report, which provides feedback from more than 3,000 journalists in 17 markets around the world.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Maintaining credibility (27%) was cited as the biggest challenge for journalists in the last 12 months, with lack of staffing and declining advertising both mentioned by 20% of respondents. These reasons should be familiar to many because they have impacted most of us in some way either through claims of ‘fake news’ or no longer being able to get a print version of your favorite publication, or even having the publication or show disappear altogether. The impact has been fewer journalists having to do more with less while having their reputation and their industry’s credibility questioned.
  • Data is in demand with 40% more journalists relying on it than they did a year ago. This is something we tell our clients on a regular basis and it can be very effective when the questions hone in on relevant and newsworthy topics. The desire for data is also extending to products, with 37% of journalists saying they won’t cover them without data.
  • Social media looms large in journalists’ minds, as many are now looking to engage with their followers either via polls or surveys (the percentage doubled in the past year to 34%). Even though the respondents are inundated with pitches on a daily basis, they still prefer to be pitched via email as only 4% of respondents want to receive pitches via social media.

Cision also held a webinar with some journalists to get more insights from them on the survey topics. They all agreed on the importance of data but explained that not all data is created equally. The most desirable is research conducted by a reputable third-party research firm (echoing Liberty’s advice). The journalists on the panel said that independent research is more credible than a survey or research commissioned by a company, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be as effective.

Fun fact: for the past 50+ years, legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite has been referred to as “the most trusted man in America” and that was from research conducted on behalf of CBS News. That’s what I call effective PR!

Unsurprisingly, AI also came up in the webinar. There was concern expressed over how some publications are starting to use content generated by AI – but there was also excitement over how much more efficient it will make journalists when used in other parts of their jobs.

For example, after a journalist writes an article, using AI to create headlines that are good for SEO is far more efficient than having to come up with options and doesn’t impact the integrity of the writing or the content of the article.

When looking at what comes next for journalists, they all felt that some of the long-held qualities still apply: strong writing and interview skills, being curious and knowing how to research. Some of the new skills that were mentioned include the ability to understand and embrace new technology as well as the ability to understand and interpret complex data.

It seems that as much as things change, some of the basic skills remain the same.

Janel Steinberg

Janel is Vice President, US, at Liberty Communications

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