Reporters want more comms from financial institutions

BOSTON: A majority of reporters are complaining that financial institutions don't communicate newsworthy events, according to a study by BackBay Communications and Marketwire.

BOSTON: A majority of reporters are complaining that financial institutions don't communicate newsworthy events, according to a study by BackBay Communications and Marketwire. The journalists also said that banks and the like don't respond to calls, and if they do, they provide evasive responses.

Nearly half of journalists covering the financial sector (48%) said their biggest challenge is getting firms to communicate during a downturn. At least seven in 10 respondents said that firms' biggest mistakes leading to negative coverage are not communicating newsworthy developments promptly and honestly (79%), not responding to calls or e-mails for comments (76%), and giving evasive responses (70%).

A lack of communication and limited access to executives were cited as common mistakes made during a crisis situation.

"It's awfully tempting for companies not to answer the phone or to reply to e-mails [during a financial crisis]," said Bill Haynes, president and founder of BackBay. "What we heard from the journalists was that… they are looking for financial services firms to engage in that conversation so they'll be treated fairly in news coverage and given the opportunity to express their points of view about their companies and the economy in general."

Overwhelmingly, reporters said if the firms developed better relationships with news staff, it could lead to better coverage. Reporters also wanted executives available to discuss industry trends, and almost six in 10 (58%) cited developing studies on marketplace issues as a positive.

"What jumped out at me was the extent of lost trust at a lot of these institutions that many people once thought of as being around forever or safe places to put their money," added Haynes. "Obviously communications can only do so much… but I think that a lot of reporters that cover the financial services firms are looking for honest communications and leadership."

The online survey polled 109 reporters, 104 of which are from North America, from February 3 to 29.

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