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Gini Dietrich

PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want

By: Gini Dietrich | August 14, 2012 | 
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I’m sure most of you remember when the plane went down in the Hudson River.

Do you also remember the photo that accompanied most of the news reports?

It was the image to the left, which was tweeted by one Janis Krums, who was on the ferry crossing the River when the plane landed and he tweeted a photo of it.

This is when Twitter became a household name and it fundamentally changed the way we communicate.

You see, the news was not only reported by a citizen, but it was accompanied by an image. And it spread like wildfire on Twitter before traditional media had a chance to even get to the scene to begin their reporting.

This is also when you began to see the ticker along the bottom of television news reports that says something along the lines of, “This is being reported on Twitter, but has not yet been confirmed.”

What Journalists Want

Combined with the social media and citizen journalism phenomenon, the Oriella Digital Journalism Study shows journalists are now swinging back to trusted – and credible – sources for information. The TEKGroup Online Newsroom Survey shows journalists are visting company newsrooms regularly. And the Web Influencers Survey by D. S. Simon Productions shows nearly 90 percent of all media websites use video.

These combined studies showed 80 percent of journalists and bloggers value images that are easily available and ready to use. And 75 percent says they want video and that 30 percent of their websites now use externally produced video.

Those are a lot of percentages so I want you to think about that for a second.

Eighty percent of journalists you’re working with in your media relations efforts want images and nearly that many also want video.

Are PR Pros Keeping Up?

But PR pros are not keeping up. At least, not according to the PRESSFeed survey that asked 100 (small number so take it with a grain of salt) PR pros if their activities lined up with what journalists wants.

The survey discovered only four percent said they thought images were important to journalists and just a little more than half (56 percent) routinely add images to their media relations efforts.

And only eight percent said they thought a video gallery is important to journalists, with only 39 percent making video available through a company newsroom on the website.

Even though the number of PR pros surveyed is small, what I like best about the study is PRESSFeed also reviewed the company sites of  300 companies – the Fortune 100, 100 of the Fortune 500, and the top 100 of the INC 500 – to see what features and tools they provide for journalists.

Only 24 percent of the company sites offer images and 22 percent offer videos.

What Does this Mean?

The study also found only 14 percent of the news releases posted online are optimized for search.

The industry is not keeping up.

Journalists are looking for images and videos and only a quarter of us are delivering.

Are we so focused on the way things have always been done that we’re forgetting about one of the key stakeholders in our communications programs?

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About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

83 comments
FletcherDoyle1
FletcherDoyle1

.@Steveology @ginidietrich Love this. B-roll on file could help a lot of journalists complete videos after they interview subjects.

ClayMorgan
ClayMorgan

Gini,

 

I'm an editor of a newspaper. A couple days late to this conversation, but, a few months ago, I started specifically telling all PR pros I met with - send me video! Send me photo galleries! We will use them.

 

A few - particularly non-profits - are sending galleries with their press releases. To date, not one PR person has sent a video or link to a video.

 

It has nothing to do with being beholden to us - with our websites, we're telling stories in a variety of ways. It's a chance for businesses and organizations to go beyond a press release and tell their stories to our audience in new and exciting ways.

Latest blog post: Livefyre Conversation

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Going to be devils advocate because I can......why should PR step up it;s game when websites like mashable will just publish your crappy press release so as to fill web pages?

kentonlarsen
kentonlarsen

"PR pros not keeping up with what journalists want." The headline positions PR people as being beholden to journalists, when - in fact - the jobs are two sides of the same coin; it's not the journalist doing a PR person a favor, it's an exchange of value. This headline reads like an Onion parody of the gatekeeper era.

MarkGBeer
MarkGBeer

@dubaitara Thanks Tara-that is really interesting.

Sally Falkow
Sally Falkow

Thanks fro sharing the survey results.  Great to see the conversation

Cision NA
Cision NA

I would like your secret, @ginidietrich . I can't figure out how you are able to read studies, write blog posts, tweet, comment ... and breathe. If it involves more coffee, I'm in :) 

 

You do a great job of offering continuing education for PRs. I think @AlisaCosta makes a great point. When I was leaving my newsroom job (early 2008), it was just getting equipped with cameras that could both take photos and video, enabling reporters to have the ability to do both, plus interview/investigate/write a story. If PR pros can take a bit of work off their plate, it will make everyone's life easier.

 

We liked this post so much we made sure to share it with our Twitter followers. Thank you for the great read, and don't forget to share your secret with me :)

 

Best,

Lisa

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman

Great post - and a good reminder to some of those old school ways of doing PR that have never really gone away...images can: a) round out the journalists' story and (b) save them from having to shoot their own b-roll.  I've also provided b-roll with 'as close as I can get' to spokespeople interviews (which can be achieved if you hire a former reporter to do this for you).  Once you establish yourself as a credible purveyor of images/b-roll, media outlets will know they can get a one-stop shopping story from you.

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

@ginidietrich Shared this with @usairforce public affairs folks today.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

@ericamallison ha ha you are so cute.

AlisaCosta
AlisaCosta

It doesn't surprise me. As newsrooms cut staff, journalists are not getting lazy, they have run out of time to do the work of journalists. Any way PR pros can offer reliable content will help. Thank you for posting this. It's helpful moving forward with my work and selling it to my coworkers.

mlaffs
mlaffs

@ginidietrich great to see @sallyfalkow's work featured in your blog, and thanks for the break-down

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

It is hard to fight inertia. People don't like change and many simply won't do it unless they are forced to.

DanielleCyr
DanielleCyr

@RhondaHurwitz Happy to share! Have a great rest of the day.

AdamWeitner
AdamWeitner

@Rose_Begonia @SDGreenall thanks for the RTs!

TARAInkPR
TARAInkPR

@barbdelollis @jeffespo @ginidietrich Great read, thanks for sharing!

susancellura
susancellura

Amazing! I had no idea that many did not find images important. I start looking for an image once I know a press release or article opportunity is available (or I make the opportunity available).

JeffHaws
JeffHaws

Take heed, @CatherinedkPR ... RT @jeffespo PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want http://t.co/z3b0jVxx via @ginidietrich

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @ClayMorgan I don't think it has anything to do with being beholden to journalists either. The fact is, if you're a communications pro doing media relations, you need to work with journalists to give them what they want. Why is that so hard?

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Anne Reuss

terreece
terreece

@ginidietrich Yep, it's dead useful, I love how I can send it over to Evernote so I keep track of my article ideas.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @kentonlarsen I think it's more give-and-take than some constant equilibrium of value exchange. And sometimes, PR pros are not keeping up.

 

Any headline could read like an Onion headline.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @kentonlarsen You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but that is not at all what I meant...nor was it what is in the blog content. As you know, writing headlines is all about creating an opportunity for people to click via the various social networks so they'll read more of the content.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Lisa Larranaga  Well, I don't drink coffee so that's not it. I used to think it was easy - I get up at 5:30 in the morning and I spend my first three hours doing this stuff. But then I realized I'm totally psycho and that's not normal. I also love to read and do that instead of watching TV. Zite on my iPad is my new BFF.

 

Thanks for all of your support...as you know, I'm a big Cision fan!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@mlaffs @sallyfalkow I like what PRESSFeed found in that survey!

lizcies
lizcies

@frank_strong I keep up by reading @ginidietrich. :) It's great to see actual data that supports a hunch.

Chad_Cohen
Chad_Cohen

@ginidietrich - I've been around. You're just too popular now.....lol

KaryD
KaryD

@ginidietrich It's a skill I tell students they are going to need. Repeatedly.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @susancellura It seems weird because we all know how compelling images are...I can't decide if it's because we don't have access to them or people just aren't thinking about it. And...thanks for the LinkedIn share!

geekgiant
geekgiant

@saratweetshere Truly is. I've found that when @ginidietrich speaks, we're best to listen.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@terreece My team hates it because I send them a TON of links!

Cision NA
Cision NA

 @ginidietrich Oh, you're too kind :) We're big cheerleaders for you, as well! I read an article once on CEOs and their morning wake-up time, which averaged around 5 a.m. So you aren't psycho - the early bird gets the worm! Have a nice evening!

 

Best,

Lisa

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman

 @ginidietrich

 I agree. If you 'lift the curtain' so to speak...you can prevent having the media lift it for you...

sallyfalkow
sallyfalkow

@ginidietrich @mlaffs Thank you! It was an interesting exercise

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Chad_Cohen I haven't seen you around (stupid travel). How are things?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@geekgiant Smart, smart man. @saratweetshere

terreece
terreece

@ginidietrich It triggers the "Oh that's good"and "Check this out" reflexes. I end up sharing & bookmarking half of the articles I read.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Chad_Cohen If anyone can save the world that way, it's you.

Chad_Cohen
Chad_Cohen

@ginidietrich - things are well. been jamming all summer. saving the world one press release at a time....

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