Gini Dietrich

PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want

By: Gini Dietrich | August 14, 2012 | 
93

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, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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93 Comments on "PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want"

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Nikki Little
4 years 1 month ago

This blows my mind. I feel like this should be old news at this point. Journalists and bloggers have been asking for accompanying images for years now. It really surprises me that that many PR pros aren’t thinking to include images and/or video with their news. It also blew my mind when you said at the Social Media Club Detroit event that you asked a room of PR pros how many are using Google alerts and very few raised their hands. Our industry is still way behind. :/

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @Nikki Little And your experience in Detroit is very typical. I ask that question everywhere I go and it’s always less than 10 percent….even among PR firm leaders. The industry is very far behind and it’s going to end up hurting all of us.

Nikki Little
4 years 1 month ago

 @ginidietrich That’s what worries me. There has been so much education from orgs like PRSA and leaders like yourself that I feel like it should be impossible for any PR pro to be stuck in the past still. I have a hard time grasping it, and it frustrates me. I know complaining does no good, so I will keep pushing on and joining all the rest of you who are working hard to educate our industry!

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @Nikki Little I think, until the large agencies lead the way, we’re preaching to the choir. There are a couple who are trying, but my feeling from friends who work inside those organizations is they’re way too siloed. Digital doesn’t actually talk to traditional, which is a pretty big problem. So maybe there are videos and images to be found on the social networks, but not on the company websites or through links to Dropbox or YouSendIt in news releases. 

Nikki Little
4 years 1 month ago

 @ginidietrich Further confirming why I like small agencies. 🙂

faybiz
4 years 1 month ago

Gert, nice to see you using Zemanta?

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @faybiz I’ve been using it for a while. For some reason, it’s now showing up in at the bottom.

lauraclick
4 years 1 month ago

Wow. Really? The job of PR pros is to make life easier for journalists. Period. When I worked for the court system, reporters loved working with me because I always had stuff packaged up in a nice little bow. When you give them everything they need, you make their life easier and it’s more likely your messaging gets used (which was always better than journalists figuring it out themselves). Why wouldn’t people do this?!

T60Productions
4 years 1 month ago

 @lauraclick Good for you Laura… as a former TV news reporter I can tell you it’s much appreciated!
 
–Tony Gnau

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @lauraclick Well, that’s a VERY good question! I don’t know if it’s because it’s a change in how things are done, if it’s because images and videos are hard to come by (particularly if you’re on the agency side), or just pure laziness. 

T60Productions
4 years 1 month ago

Hi Gini… thanks for promoting my business today. 🙂  Coming from a TV news background, we occasionally get asked to produce this sort of thing since we know what the media-types like/need.
 
It’s also something I’ve blogged about in the past… SHAMELESS PLUG!!! 🙂
http://t60productions.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/make-your-media-page-like-this/
http://t60productions.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/so-you-want-media-coverage/
 
–Tony Gnau
 

T60Productions
4 years 1 month ago

Hi Gini… thanks for promoting my business today. 🙂  Coming from a TV news background, we occasionally get asked to produce this sort of thing since we know what the media-types like/need.
 
It’s also something I’ve blogged about in the past… SHAMELESS PLUG!!! 🙂  Here’s a couple of examples of businesses/organizations doing it well.
http://t60productions.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/make-your-media-page-like-this/
http://t60productions.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/so-you-want-media-coverage/
 
–Tony Gnau
 

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @T60Productions Anything for you, Tony! 🙂

epekstedt
epekstedt
4 years 1 month ago

@Jhultqvist Tack för tipset. Ska läsa och lära.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 1 month ago

Imaging can be expensive, as can video. Local firms here charge between $500-1000 per HOUR. When you’re a small client with a small budget, creating video or getting a photo shoot done for your releases is just too much. With the larger release companies like PRNewswire and PRWeb, images and video cost a lot extra to add to the release, so it’s a double whammy of cost-ness. What are your thoughts on how to navigate that reality?

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem
4 years 1 month ago

 @rustyspeidel @ginidietrich I didn’t get from Gini’s post that the images or the video had to be professionally done. Gini?

SociallyGenius
4 years 1 month ago

While there are different classifications of “professional,” I don’t think a publication would really want to publish amateur photos.. No image would be better than a pixelly or shabby one IMO. @jennwhinnem @rustyspeidel @ginidietrich

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @SociallyGenius  @jennwhinnem  @rustyspeidel  EXCEPT…that Janis Krums image I use in the blog post is what the national media used. And it came from his iPhone.

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @jennwhinnem  @rustyspeidel I don’t think they need to be professionally created. We run the gamut for our clients – the sales techs shooting videos to hiring someone like @T60Productions (for a lot less than $500/hour) to produce them. And with phones and the cool photography apps, images are easy!

T60Productions
4 years 1 month ago

 @ginidietrich  @jennwhinnem  @rustyspeidelThanks Gini for the shout-out… we have videos that start for as little as $500.  That’s not the hourly rate, that’s for the finished product, and it’s all professional quality.
Most of our b-roll packages we produce range from $500-$2,000.
 
–Tony Gnau

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem
4 years 1 month ago

 @ginidietrich  @rustyspeidel  @T60Productions @SociallyGenius  Thanks for clarifying, Gini. I ask because we made a small investment in being able to DIY (dig cam + Flip cam + editing suite). One of our videos ended up being included in a media page about that particular topic. I did a cartwheel!

T60Productions
4 years 1 month ago

 @jennwhinnem  @ginidietrich  @rustyspeidel  @SociallyGenius Did I mention we also do consulting work to help you shoot and edit better on your own? 🙂  Keep up the good work Jenn!
 
–Tony Gnau

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem
4 years 1 month ago

 @T60Productions  @ginidietrich  @rustyspeidel  @SociallyGenius Heh! Wish I had known about you a year ago!

Holly_
4 years 1 month ago

Back in April, my colleague mattcochran  wrote a great post about this topic: http://www.cookerlypr.com/2012/04/reporters-increasingly-looking-for-more-than-story-ideas.html
 
Matt makes an interesting point that, at the bare minimum, PR pros need to be aware of the agency or clients internal resources. If a report asks for more content, are there videos, images, infographics, etc. that complement the story? 

dangerdubs
dangerdubs
4 years 1 month ago

When I worked in the sports department of a newspaper, we always ran pictures of a terrible team just for the fact that it was free art. Free art gets your story run.

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @dangerdubs LOL!!

SociallyGenius
4 years 1 month ago

I remember the post you did a few weeks back about not-so-real news stories. Why don’t they just make-up photos that portray the actual event like I do. We wouldn’t know any better lol! But seriously, only FOUR percent think images are important?!? Puh-leaze – maybe I should be a journalist and do my own photos!!

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @SociallyGenius To heck with that! You should consult PR firms on how to create compelling images for their media relations efforts.

magriebler
magriebler
4 years 1 month ago

I love, love, love how you keep holding the feet of PR professionals to the fire. Toes are getting toasty and it’s a very good thing. Bring on the marshmallows!

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @magriebler The problem is…everyone who reads Spin Sucks already does this stuff. I need to reach those who don’t!

magriebler
magriebler
4 years 1 month ago

 @ginidietrich But you have to start somewhere. I didn’t know about SpinSucks till a couple of months ago. And I don’t feel as alone as I once did. It all makes a difference.

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @magriebler Well, thank you! That makes me feel better.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 1 month ago

 @magriebler Don’t encourage her. 😉 

saratweetshere
saratweetshere
4 years 1 month ago

@geekgiant The name of that blog is awesome.

geekgiant
geekgiant
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@geekgiant Smart, smart man. @saratweetshere

JeffHaws
JeffHaws
4 years 1 month ago

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

susancellura
susancellura
4 years 1 month ago

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).

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @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!

TARAInkPR
TARAInkPR
4 years 1 month ago

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

AdamWeitner
AdamWeitner
4 years 1 month ago

@Rose_Begonia @SDGreenall thanks for the RTs!

DanielleCyr
DanielleCyr
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@nikki_little LOL! Yes, you did!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@KaryD Painful.

KaryD
KaryD
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@Chad_Cohen WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!

Chad_Cohen
Chad_Cohen
4 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich – I’ve been around. You’re just too popular now…..lol

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

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

Chad_Cohen
Chad_Cohen
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

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

thejoshuawilner
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @thejoshuawilner I know, I know. It just makes me shake my head.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong
4 years 1 month ago

@lizcies How do you keep up, Liz?

lizcies
lizcies
4 years 1 month ago

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

mlaffs
mlaffs
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

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

sallyfalkow
sallyfalkow
4 years 1 month ago

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

Guyettkk5
Guyettkk5
4 years 1 month ago
AlisaCosta
AlisaCosta
4 years 1 month ago

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.

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @AlisaCosta Exactly! We can still be trusted resources and yet so many still throw text news releases out there to see what will stick.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem
4 years 1 month ago

@ericamallison ha ha you are so cute.

JoelFortner
JoelFortner
4 years 1 month ago

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

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 1 month ago

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.

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @ElissaFreeman I also love giving people the behind the scenes look. GE does a nice job with this – they lift the curtain and let people see what they’ve been hiding for years.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 1 month ago

 @ginidietrich
 I agree. If you ‘lift the curtain’ so to speak…you can prevent having the media lift it for you…

jasonkonopinski
4 years 1 month ago

 @ElissaFreeman  @ginidietrich I love, love, love what McDonald’s did with their behind-the-scenes series of videos. 
 
Took some serious cajones, but it’s been awesome to see. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

@T60Productions And photos, too

Lisa Larranaga
Lisa Larranaga
4 years 1 month ago
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… Read more »
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @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!

Lisa Larranaga
Lisa Larranaga
4 years 1 month ago

 @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

Sally Falkow
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @Sally Falkow Thanks for the survey…it was really interesting!

MarkGBeer
MarkGBeer
4 years 1 month ago

@dubaitara Thanks Tara-that is really interesting.

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[…] Gini Dietrich posts “PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want” at Spin Sucks. […]

kentonlarsen
kentonlarsen
4 years 1 month ago

“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.

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @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.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem
4 years 1 month ago

 @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
4 years 1 month ago

@terreece I heart Zite.

terreece
terreece
4 years 1 month ago

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

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

terreece
terreece
4 years 1 month ago

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

HowieG
4 years 1 month ago

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?

ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @HowieG I’d like to think we can step above all of that.

ClayMorgan
4 years 1 month ago
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… Read more »
ginidietrich
4 years 1 month ago

 @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?

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FletcherDoyle1
FletcherDoyle1
4 years 1 month ago

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

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[…] entire media world did stories about it—we had a compelling story to tell and visuals to support it. From a PR perspective, it was a huge […]

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[…] PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want […]

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[…] of her blog posts last week caught my attention. She wrote about how PR pros aren’t keeping up with what journalists want, and she cited some recent […]

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[…] entire media world did stories about it…we had a compelling story to tell and visuals to support it. From a PR perspective, it was a huge […]

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