Marking its 14th year, the Cision State of the Media Report has been released for 2023. Cision is a media monitoring and insights platform, and this report reveals key insights for PR and communications professionals to help them build mutually beneficial partnerships. The 2023 report surveyed over 3,000 journalists worldwide to get a global, rounded view of the industry.
Last year, we covered some key findings from the 2022 report. I thought it would be interesting to compare some of those results with the latest release as well as look into some other important information gathered within the 2023 report.
Challenges remain similar
In both the 2022 and 2023 report, journalists have been asked about their biggest challenges over the past 12 months. Working in PR, you need to work with journalists, and understanding where they are struggling and identifying ways to help them is key to success.
The findings across the two years are quite similar, with maintaining credibility holding the top spot, despite lowering slightly as of 2023. It will be interesting to see whether the increasing AI technology will have had any sway on this by 2024, with resources such as ChatGPT, Bard and Search Generative Experience openly admitting that responses may not be 100% accurate. However, the rise of AI may simply force journalists to grasp their human PR contacts as a source of information (yay!), at least until the technologies increase in accuracy.
Social networks and influencers bypassing traditional media have become more of a concern for journalists between 2022 and 2023. These two information sources are becoming increasingly popular, especially for younger audiences, so we may see this figure continue to rise too.
Where priorities lie
A question for the 2023 report asked journalists and editors about their top priorities.
Ensuring that content is accurate was the most critical concern by far, with 58% of respondents placing it as their top spot. The second and third highest priorities received much less attention, with audience perception as a trusted news source at 14%, and providing a voice for critical issues impacting our communities at 11%.
It seems that authenticity and truth are the key concerns in journalists’ minds for 2023, although that comes as little surprise.
Where journalists get their information
In the recent report, journalists were also asked what source they consider to be the most trustworthy for gathering or validating information. The top response was from newswires (27%), followed by industry experts (23%) and press releases (20%). Be sure to bare these in mind when sharing information with journalists!
In 2022, journalists were asked which social media platforms they use the most for work. The top three platforms were Facebook (63%), Twitter (59%) and LinkedIn (56%).
For the 2023 report, a slightly different question was asked. Journalists were asked which platforms they plan to be more or less active on in the coming year. Facebook was the most popular platform of 2022, however, only 9% of respondents said that they will be more active on Facebook over the next 12 months. Comparably, 18% said that they will be less active, possibly pushing Facebook down from the top spot.
Twitter saw more respondents claiming they will be more active (12%), but also a higher amount who think they will be less active (20%). Could this be to do with Musk’s recent shake-up of Twitter?
LinkedIn, despite being the lowest of the three platforms in 2022, seems to have the most interest from journalists in 2023, with 20% of respondents planning to be more active and only 14% looking to reduce activity on the platform. This correlates well with the volume of journalists who trust industry experts for gathering and validating information, as LinkedIn is the best platform for connecting with professionals.
Building relationships with the media
Working in PR, you’ll know that building a strong connection with journalists, editors and other members of the media is vital. The 2023 report shares some dos and don’ts for building media relationships:
Journalists receive countless pitches every day from marketers, and a very small percentage of these make the editorial cut. In both the 2022 and 2023 reports, journalists were asked what communications professionals can do to make their job easier.
The top three responses have stayed the same between the two years, but interestingly, the volume of respondents for each answer has increased in 2023, showing that they have become even more crucial.
Understanding a journalist’s target audience has maintained the top spot, which is of little surprise. A journalist often writes within a certain sector or niche, because this is what their audience wants to see. Sending pitches, press releases or information that doesn’t fall under their umbrella simply wastes both your and the journalist’s time, and it is unlikely to be published anyway.
Providing data and expert sources sits in the second spot. This is likely due to the high importance of maintaining credibility and combatting ‘fake news’. Journalists want to be a trusted source for news and information, and quantifiable data and credited sources are a great way to prove authenticity. This isn’t to say that you always need accompanying data, and be aware that shoving in unrelated statistics or resources isn’t going to help your case, but if there is relevant and credible data available, then it’s worth adding to your pitch.
The importance of respecting the journalists’ deadlines has increased a notable amount, rising from the 6th most important (2022) to the 4th (2023). So, if you’re given a deadline, stick to it!
We have a previous blog post with tips for marketers to help journalists, covering some of the aspects highlighted in the above question in further detail.
Reports such as this one are a great tool for marketers, allowing us to peer into journalists’ minds and learn how we should approach and interact with them. The relationship between communications professionals and media professionals is vital in this line of work, so take the time to understand what the other side needs and wants.