Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media Report Reveals Top Trends Impacting Journalists and PR Pros

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With a seemingly infinite supply of crises, 2020 made an indelible mark on newsrooms around the world with a host of challenges that continue to influence the media – from editorial strategies and work behaviors to what they want and expect from PR professionals. To provide deeper insight into the current media landscape and how PR teams can be better partners to journalists going forward, Cision released its much-anticipated 2021 Global State of the Media Report, chock full of emerging trends you can’t afford to ignore, best practices for an evolving normal and “aha” moments you can act on quickly.

This is Cision’s 12th annual study and is based on a survey of more than 2,700 journalists in 15 countries around the world from February 1 to March 1, 2021.

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The report features:

  • Top challenges impacting the media today
  • Technology’s influence on the way journalists evaluate stories
  • The types of stories journalists are looking for this year
  • Best and worst days and times to pitch and follow up
  • Fastest ways to get on a journalist’s “block/don’t call” list
  • Inside tips to build and maintain successful partnerships with journalists

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Key Findings:

  • Journalists’ views on public trust in the media have steadily improved over the last five years, but the challenge continues. More than half (53%) of journalists feel the public lost trust in the media over the last year, down from 59% in Cision’s 2020 survey.* Looking specifically at the U.S., where contentious relationships between the White House and certain media outlets were aired publicly over the last four years, 36% of journalists feel the new Presidential administration will help the public gain trust in the media going forward.
  • Censorship remains a significant concern. Nearly half (46%) of journalists worldwide predict a continued deterioration of freedom of the press over the next three years.*
  • Journalists are both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by pitches. PR pros need to build highly targeted media lists. More than 1 in 4 journalists (28%) receive over 100 pitches per week with most ending up in the virtual trash due to irrelevance. And, contrary to popular belief, a sizeable percentage say they like receiving pitches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Journalists want PR pros to help make their jobs easier. Nearly half of journalists cover 5+ beats and file 7+ stories per week. They’re looking for press releases (according to 78%) and original research (68%) along with multimedia elements (photos, videos, etc) and invites to interview experts or attend events.
  • PR pros need to anticipate, monitor and quickly act on trending stories. With increased competition for eyeballs, journalists are closely assessing whether a story idea has the “it factor” that will translate into traffic and social shares (and ultimately ad revenue).
  • PR pros should avoid pushing journalists’ biggest buttons. Spam, pitches that sound like marketing brochures, lack of transparency and following up repeatedly are among the top pet peeves for journalists.

“The global media landscape is evolving in the face of highly fragmented, 24/7 news consumption, shrinking newsrooms and the influx of non-traditional influencers,” said Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer for Cision. “After a year like no other, the partnership between the media and PR pros – and the technologies they use to develop and distribute content – are becoming even more critical. PR teams who are not actively using data intelligence and newswires to guide and promote their campaigns are at risk of falling behind as they compete to have their stories heard.”

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