Study: Long live the press release

For three years running, journalists have referred to the press release as their go-to source for reliable information.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

CHICAGO: Reports of the press release’s death have been greatly exaggerated, according to a Cision study released on Tuesday.

Reached in February, 63% of 1,355 global respondents said they prefer news announcements and press releases more than other forms of content, "indicating that most reporters want to continue interacting with [PR] in the same way they have been historically."

Forty-four percent said they trust press releases more than any other type of brand-related content. Thirty percent said the same about company spokespeople and 20% about websites. Only 3% said they trust blogs and social media channels the most. For three years running, journalists have referred to the press release as their go-to source for reliable information.

Journalists said they want a clear news hook in jargon-free press releases, with 45% saying having a clear angle make a press release more efficient.

However, the company warned that journalists will turn against the press release if PR pros don’t give them the content they want.

"PR pros must put forward material that’s not marketing jargon, that can explain clearly how something works, and why it’s relevant to journalists," the study recommended.

Journalists’ top request (28%), for the third straight year, is that marketers do a better job researching and understanding them and the organizations they work for prior to pitching. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they would like more tailored pitches, and 27% said PR pros should have data and expert sources available upon request.

Journalists also seem to be deprioritizing the dash to the deadline. Being 100% accurate is their most important priority, according to 75% of global respondents. Only 10% listed their top priority as being first to report a story, down 3% from last year.

In terms of what technologies will affect them, 34% of respondents said social media algorithms will influence their work the most, followed by better and cheaper video production (26%), and AI and machine learning on the backend (21%).

Respondents identified social media and search bypassing traditional media (24%), fake news (22%), and staffing and limited resources (21.5%) as the biggest threats to U.S. journalism. Fake news, defined as "false content presented as real news coverage of actual events," is bedeviling the media, with 56% of respondents saying that it’s spreading skepticism among readers about what they read and see.

French journalists were most likely to agree with this at 64%, followed by those in the U.S. at 59%. Seventy-one percent of journalists globally said the public has lost trust in journalists, down from 91% in the prior year.

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