PR and Journalists Unite: Thanks to Social Networks?
Lisa Buonaugurio from our team passed on an interesting article yesterday about a study that showed that the number one source of news for journalists, despite their increasing use of social networking tools, is still PR people. The study was done in May by Oriella PR Network -- admittedly a group of communications agencies. However, the study polled nearly 500 journalists, and learned that:
- 47 percent are using Twitter as a source (up from 33 percent a year ago) and 35 percent are using Facebook (up from 25 percent a year ago).
- Despite this increase in the use of these tools, only 4 percent said they use Twitter, Facebook, or blogs as their first source in researching a story.
And -- wait for it: "The No. 1 resource that journalists in this study are using for sourcing, was PR agencies with a whopping 62 percent. As for the first protocol when researching a news or feature story? PR again! Nearly 22 percent of respondents say their initial stop is a press release. "
The poll goes on to document how much more content a shrinking pool of journalists need to produce in this new world of minimalist publications, which may explain why trusted PR professionals are viewed as such as a useful source of material now more than ever.
Mulling this over last night with a group of PR colleagues at the ultimate social network, Fenway Park, it makes sense. We were even trading stories about journalists we've known for many years and what they are working on now, and how they still really value the trusted friends they've made in the PR field. The mutual respect factor in the push-pull of press/PR relationships is still key. If we all do our jobs correctly, we are a tremendous help to one another. And with the number of journalists and PR people who are "friending" each other and following each other on Twitter and "LinkingIn" to one another, it's clear to me that the poll is accurate. We have become a fairly co-dependent communications chain in these days of 24/7 news where you have to do more with less -- and much faster than ever -- to get the story out.
So all of those dire predictions that social media would sound the death knell for public relations were just as specious as we thought they were. May the networking continue.