ISEBOX survey: Corporate newsrooms are a drag

Updated and accurate contact information for phone and email topped the list of a corporate newsroom's most important features followed by the ability to easily view and download media content. Both areas were cited as those in most need of improvement

NEW YORK: A survey released by ISEBOX on Wednesday morning revealed widespread disappointment in corporate newsrooms among journalists.

Ninety-five percent of journalists said they use corporate newsrooms monthly, but only 6% said their expectations were met.

Updated and accurate contact information for phone and email topped the list of a corporate newsroom’s most important features, with 90% of the vote among respondents, followed by the ability to easily view and download media content in second place (76%).

However, both areas were cited as those in most need of improvement. Social media was ranked last (30%) as the most important newsroom feature.

The survey polled about 230 journalists, asking them eight questions, according to Joe Witte, VP of global business development and life sciences at ISEBOX. Respondents came from around the world, with 85% in the U.S., Witte said.

Still, 80% of respondents said they would use a corporate newsroom if it met their needs, which was heartening for Witte, who said he was pleased at how often journalists frequent corporate websites.

"Having current contact information seemed like a no-brainer," Witte said. "Having downloadable multimedia content at number two was somewhat surprising. And it was surprising for us to learn social media was not important to them. Social media is at the top of our minds because it’s relatively new, but journalists just need information and what they can run."

The respondents also enumerated a list of grievances: password-blocked content, a lack of archives of press releases, weak quotes in long press releases, difficult executive interview processes, and more.

"I think PR professionals have to take a serious look at their newsrooms and invest in solutions that make the lives of their audience easier," Witte said. "They have to look at multimedia and digital platforms and make sure they have a search engine, too.

Witte added there are several improvements corporate communicators can make.

"They have to make sure it’s easy to get in touch with them, their content is up-to-date, and their media kits, headshots, and such are very easily downloadable. They have to remove passwords to log into certain content. A lot of that stuff can be done in a day," he added. "Then they have to start looking at other platforms and digital solutions to get their media relations up to 2016 standards."

A separate study by video content provider TheNewsMarket found that almost 20% of 248 journalists found corporate newsrooms unsatisfactory. The respondents mostly came from the U.S. and Europe.

Similarly, a study conducted last year by ISEBOX found that journalists by and large prefer to be pitched stories by email — but without the "clutter." PR professionals continue to distribute content across multiple platforms, "which is scattered and laborious both for the corporate comms person as well as the journalist," Isebox CTO Salvatore Salpietro said.

In addition, the study reported a majority of journalists saying their job was more difficult now than five years ago, with 52% saying they publish at least five articles per week.

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