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2009 PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey:

Job Uncertainty, Longer Hours Weigh Heavily on the Minds of Media Professionals

"New Media" Paradigms Create Opportunities for Journalists and PR professionals

New York (April 06, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — Tighter budgets, staff cuts and a continuing shift from print to online reporting responsibilities are requiring media professionals to work longer hours and forcing many to consider a career outside of journalism. This, and other findings uncovered in the "2009 PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey," indicate that the media profession remains turbulent, but that the changing landscape has created more opportunities for reporters to have their work published and for public relations professionals to generate interest in their clients' news.

The survey, sponsored by PR Newswire and PRWeek, polled a total of 2,174 traditional and non-traditional media, including newspaper and magazine journalists, television, radio and online reporters, and bloggers. Its objective was to assess the attitudes and ideas of traditional journalists and bloggers, specifically regarding their duties, workload, interaction with PR professionals, and opinions of the future of media industry. Editorial coverage of the survey appears in the April 6 issue of PRWeek. To access the article, click here.

"It is very apparent that journalists feel the need to break more stories on a variety of mediums than ever before, said Keith O'Brien, editor-in-chief at PRWeek. "There is a great opportunity for PR professionals to utilize these multiplying avenues to increase coverage of their clients. But this also means it's even more imperative for PR pros to carefully consider the needs and schedules of the reporters and bloggers that they plan to pitch. The competition for content makes seasoned PR professionals a valuable asset."

"The results of the 2009 survey continue trends that we witnessed in last year's inaugural Media Survey. It is quite evident that reporters are feeling incredible pressure due to the combination of fiscal constraints and increased competition among peer publications and 'new media' platforms," stated Sarah Skerik, vice president, Distribution Services, PR Newswire. "For media professionals, the uncertainty — both in terms of job security and reporting responsibilities — has created a very challenging working environment, leaving more than half to reconsider journalism as their profession of choice. However, the continued shift to 'new media' has also opened more avenues for reporters to be seen and heard, while presenting PR professional an additional means to present story ideas and serve as an asset to the reporter."

Key Findings:

  • Work Environment and Career Stability
    The demise of print stalwarts, such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the San Francisco Chronicle and the continued drumbeat of staff reductions has cast a cloud over the media industry, with 62% of newspaper journalists anticipating "declines in print circulation and increased focus on the web" over the next three years. This number is consistent with findings from 2008. In line with this sentiment, 42% of print reporters expect to see "reductions in staff" as compared to 26% expressing the same concern last year.

    Given the uncertainty throughout the industry, 50% of media professionals are now considering a career outside of journalism.
  • Hours and Responsibilities
    Continuing a trend from last year's survey, 20% of media professionals report increased responsibilities outside of their official duties, with 70% of respondents indicating a heavier workload this year than last. The primary cause of the increased workload is the need to contribute to online reporting. Of those surveyed 68% are now tasked with writing for online news sections, compared to 38% in 2008. Further, 28% of media respondents are blogging for their traditional publication, a 6% increase from 2008.
  • Relationship between Editorial and Advertising
    With commercial pressure increasing throughout the industry, the survey found that the wall between editorial and advertising is not as clear as it once was. Fifty six percent of print magazine professionals suggested that there is a "slight to heavy" influence of advertising on editorial content while 43% of TV professionals indicated a similar pressure.
  • Blogs & Reporting
    While more reporters in this year's survey maintain a blog presence as compared to last year (43% versus 36%, the percentage of journalists who use blogs for research remains relatively low. According to the 2009 survey, 61% of media professionals rarely or never use blogs for research. This compares to 55% from 2008.

    Also noteworthy, approximately half of all bloggers surveyed worked for traditional media companies in the past. However, only 37% believe themselves to be journalists in their present occupation.
  • Reporters & Social Media
    Reporters' use of social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, increased significantly from 2008 to 2009. Of those surveyed, 58% are on Facebook and 51% have a LinkedIn profile, compared with 29% and 32% last year. Twenty-two percent of journalists are also on Twitter. The number of journalists not participating in social media is now a clear minority, with 23% saying they do not have a social network profile. In 2008, the number was 46%.
  • Relationship to PR Professionals
    The majority of journalists responding prefer PR professionals to pitch them by e-mail with 80% listing it as their favored method. This is consistent with last year's findings. Also consistent with the 2008 survey, is the contention among reporters that a low percentage of pitches lead to a story due to the belief that most pitches are unrelated to the media professional's area of interest.

    Despite the low success rate, only 7% of respondents said they would prefer not to be contacted by PR pros at all, indicating that public relations is a necessary component of journalism. Related to the rise in social networking, 31% of media professionals have been pitched via a social network, such as Facebook or Twitter.

About PR Newswire

PR Newswire is the global leader in innovative communications and marketing services, enabling organizations to connect and engage with their target audiences worldwide.

Through its multi-channel distribution network, audience intelligence, targeting, and measurement services, PR Newswire helps corporations and organizations conduct rich, timely and dynamic dialogues with the media, consumers, policymakers, investors and the general public, in support of building brands, generating awareness, impacting public policy, driving sales, and raising capital.

Pioneering the commercial news distribution industry 55 years ago, PR Newswire connects customers with audiences in more than 170 countries and in over 40 languages through an unparalleled network of offices in 16 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and via unique affiliations with the leading news agencies across the globe. PR Newswire is a subsidiary of United Business Media Limited, a leading global business media company that serves professional commercial communities around the world. For more information, go to www.unitedbusinessmedia.com.

About United Business Media Limited

UBM focuses on two principal activities: worldwide information distribution, targeting and monitoring; and, the development and monetization of B2B communities and markets. UBM's businesses inform markets and serve professional commercial communities — from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewelry traders, from farmers to pharmacists — with integrated events, online, print and business information products. Our 6,500 staff in more than 30 countries are organized into specialist teams that serve these communities, bringing buyers and sellers together, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently. For more information, go to www.unitedbusinessmedia.com.

About PRWeek

Launched in November 1998, PRWeek was Haymarket's first weekly title in the US. Over the years, PRWeek has established itself as a vital part of the PR and communications industries in the US, providing timely news, reviews, profiles, techniques, and ground-breaking research for practitioners. The brand launched the PRWeek Awards in 1999 to showcase and recognize the best practices in the PR industry. PRWeek's online properties (http://www.prweekus.com) include a constantly updated Web site, podcasts, a number of blogs, and a host of webcasts.