New Media Report Indicates Lack of Trust Towards Journalists

Cision’s “2017 State of the Media Report” is out and reveals that 91 percent of journalists believe the public trusts them less than they did three years ago. Cision, a provider of PR software and services, surveyed more than 1,500 journalists and influencers across North America. The report covered topics such has how to improve relationships with journalists, how to pitch valuable stories, and how to better target your audience using rich media content.

While the report did find that 81 percent of senior marketers realize the value of earned media over paid or owned content, journalists are struggling to preserve the public’s trust. 2016 was an important year for the media landscape and how news is covered. Executive brand voices now hold more credibility than media or government voices, which is a major shift compared to last year. Because of this, brands have a unique opportunity to work with the media on story opportunities.

In the era of 24/7 news and the urgency to break news first, 92 percent of respondents feel being right is more important than being first, up four percent from 2016. These survey results indicated that all communicators must continue to provide relevant and accurate content to the public in order to preserve and regain the public’s trust.

In the 829 open-ended responses received, the word “facts” was used in 23 percent of the responses, followed by “accurate” 14 percent of the time, and “sources,” 11.58 percent.

Cision has tracked the digital media trends over the past six years and the rise of using social media as a journalistic resource has grown. The survey results continue to show that Facebook remains on top as the most valued channel for audience engagement at 41 percent, growing by three percent since 2016. Twitter ranked second with 21 percent of the vote. More than 33 percent of the survey’s respondents are from non-traditional media outlets such as social media publishing, podcasts, blogs, etc.

While social media has become a staple medium to get information, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a completely trusted source. Only 44 percent of respondents feel that social media is a reliable source of information. Responses indicated that while many are not using new video features on social media platforms, they are interested in making their stories more interactive.

This year’s report indicated also that marketers value mobile, video and image-based content, and social media more than sponsored content and native advertising. News services such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO), PR Newswire for Journalists (PRNJ) and ProfNet continue to be rated as top sources of credible story ideas. Journalists still prefer email communication for pitches (more than 90 percent) and have continually ranked phone calls and social media communication at less than 3 percent. Furthermore, more than 50 percent of respondents said that a pitch noting past work, interests, or beats is what drove them to pursue a story.

Relationships between journalists and PR professions continue to be important for story sources, with only five percent of respondents saying they do not work with PR professionals at all. Most respondents (63 percent) said their relationship with PR professionals has not changed, and 12 percent of respondents said they actually rely on PR professionals more now than in 2016. Journalists noted that to improve the relationship, PR professionals should concentrate on researching the journalist’s beat and tailoring pitches.

Overall, Cision’s 2017 State of the Media report found that while journalists are continuing to become more familiar with the digital-first media landscape, they still rely on PR professionals for the basic elements of a story. For the second year in a row, journalists have ranked press releases and story leads as most valuable. As more publication budgets shrink, it’s increasingly important for all media professionals to work together in compiling the facts to compose the most accurate stories. This collaboration will only help regain the public’s trust with relevant and truthful content.