How Journalists Work


“Shareability, Credibility and Objectivity: The State of Journalism Today” is the latest survey of journalists in today’s social media age, which was a joint effort of Muck Rack and Zeno Group. The sample size of this online survey of how journalists work is relatively small with 520 global participants and has a 4% margin of error.

Of those who did reply, the majority were U.S.-based journalists. Here’s what I found most interesting:

Almost half of all journalists believe that it is “not possible for a journalist to be 100% objective” in today’s political and social environment.

Nearly 45% are either “somewhat” or “very” pessimistic about the direction of their industry, up from 27% in 2017.

71% believe “the current presidential administration represents a highly negative challenge to the news media, putting journalism and journalists on the defensive, and eroding the media’s credibility with the American people.”

63% of U.S. journalists track how many times their stories are shared on social media and 30% of U.S. journalists says that data analytics “increasingly influence” what kinds of stories they cover. Let that sink in.

More than one-third of journalists go to social media as their “first” source of news, but channel preferences are changing dramatically. A good chunk are abandoning Facebook for Twitter and Instagram (those two are even in preferences). Instagram isn’t my go-to for news, but it certainly is a channel for influencers.

As for PR practitioners, much is the same. It’s a love-hate relationship. Still, more than half see it as a partnership or “mutually beneficial.” And the standard news release is waning in use and waning in interest. Many want infographic components and video. On the upswing – a VR or AR component.

Surveys like these are interesting, but if you’re really scoring with media – you know some media preferences are personal and some media standards are universal. If your mojo is working for clients, keep doing what works – and jettison what isn’t.

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