State of the Media 2020: Top Five Takeaways

State of the Media: Key Findings from Cision's 2020 Report

Our 2020 State of the Media Report is our biggest one yet and we are so excited that it’s finally time to share it with you!

For our 11th report, we surveyed more than 3,200 journalists from 15 countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. And once COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, we reached back out to journalists to see how it was affecting them. We received 114 responses that are highlighted in a special section of the report.

You can download the full 2020 State of the Media Report here and get started with the top takeaways below.

1. COVID-19 changed everything, but also highlighted everything that hasn’t changed for the media. 

Journalists still prefer to be pitched via email, and the volume of pitches they’re receiving now – paired with increasingly tight budgets and reduced resources – only emphasizes that.

As entire staffs have been moved over to cover the pandemic, PR pros are encouraged more than ever to research a journalist’s work before pitching them.

2. Distrust in the media continues to decrease in the eyes of journalists. But there is still work to be done. 

For the fourth year in a row, journalists said they saw distrust in the media decreasing. Trust, once lost, is difficult to rebuild, but we’ve seen the public turning to mainstream media as one of the first places to get news on the novel coronavirus, per the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Trust and the Coronavirus.

Cision State of the Media 2020 - Distrust in the Media graphic

While that same report showed that trust was higher in employers than the media, turning to the media as a first choice for updates on the virus is a sign that things are moving in a positive direction. The full report discusses this more in-depth.

3. Bias is unavoidable in humans, and journalists are humans; we examine this relationship between bias and reporters (and what it means for PR pros). 

As journalists grapple with bias in their industry and in their own work, we discuss how PR and communications professionals can address this difficult topic.

We also look at responses on bias in journalists’ own words, including this one, which sums things up pretty well:

“All media is biased because it’s run by humans.”

The report also examines the relationship between bias and technology, especially when it comes to social media algorithms.

4. Social media continues to be complicated while the heady promise of AI continues to fade. 

In 2019, 38% of journalists agreed that social media algorithms will change the way they work the most. Now, in 2020, 41% of journalists believe this to be the case.

That puts journalists in the difficult position of balancing two competing priorities: Accuracy in their reporting vs. the speed valued by social media algorithms.

Meanwhile, only 15% see AI/machine learning as the most important technology to affect the industry, down from 19% last year. The promises of AI continue to fade.

5. More than ever before, journalists are looking for targeted and relevant pitches.

Journalists hope that if PR pros take one thing away from this report, it’s this: Sending a mass email out to a list won’t get them the kind of coverage they want for their brand.

Reporters value well-researched and personalized pitches. They should be concise, but contain everything a journalist needs to craft the story, and follow-up should be limited.

If you’re looking to cut through the noise and receive the last press releases that meet your coverage area needs, set up a free custom newsfeed with PR Newswire for Journalists.

Livestream Event

On April 28, Cision hosted a live discussion with experts from TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance, iHeartMedia, and Toronto Star. The panel talked about the results from our annual State of the Media Survey. Listen to a recording of the webinar.

2020 has already been a difficult year— and it’s only April. Let’s all work better together, especially in these uncertain times.

View the original post on Cision’s blog.

Subscribe to Beyond Bylines to get media trends, journalist interviews, blogger profiles, and more sent right to your inbox.

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Sarah A. Parker is the Content Marketing Manager for Cision, planning, producing and curating content across channels. She previously managed content and social media for several different brands, in addition to working as a freelance writer. Find her on Twitter @SparkerWorks where she is happy to talk all things social media strategy, the dynamic world of PR, and mastiffs.

 

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