<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=272494640759635&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

How to evolve your media strategy for the changing state of journalism

By Jessica McNellis

As layoffs, buyouts, and now AI transform the journalism industry, media strategies must evolve to keep up.


A person looking at a media strategy.If you are pitching media and not getting the traction you did 10 (or even two) years ago, you’re not alone. In a recent state of journalism survey, 49% of journalists reported they “seldom or never respond to pitches.” It likely has less to do with your company’s story and more to do with how your media strategy fits with the current state of journalism. 




Audio: Listen to this article.


The industry has seen a surge of layoffs cutting newsrooms down to a skeleton crew, continued challenges to drive revenue as subscriptions drop and digital media rises, and immense reporter burnout on the heels of nonstop heavy news cycles the last few years. 


So how do you adapt your media strategy to get the attention of the modern-day reporter? Muck Rack surveyed over 1,000 journalists to find out from the industry insiders themselves. Here are a few key insights.


A look inside today’s newsroom.

Reporters are dealing with an exhausting trifecta: longer work hours, covering more beats and producing more stories across multiple mediums, and compensation that fails to match their workload.


The overarching problem is funding. More than a third of journalists reported layoffs or buyouts at their organization, and a consistent one-third listed “lack of funding” as one of their top industry concerns.


With shrinking newsrooms and a 24/7 news cycle come longer days: 79% of journalists said they work after hours at least once a week, and 34% said they work after hours most days. Reporters noted they’re often churning out 11 or more stories a week across at least two mediums (print, digital, podcast, video, newsletter, etc.). With these trends, it’s unsurprising that more than half (64%) work over 40 hours a week. While you might expect this frequent overtime to correlate with high salaries, less than half earn more than $70,000 annually.


And that just scratches the surface of some of the inner workings of the evolving news landscape. So what do journalists prefer for sources, pitches, and working with PR teams?


The perfect pitch, according to reporters.

Reporters are inundated with pitches from PR professionals. And while almost half of the survey respondents said they seldom respond to pitches, the majority (70%) acknowledged PR professionals as at least moderately important to their success. 


You might assume a reporter ghosted you because you caught them at an inconvenient time or your pitch was a little too wordy. However, bad timing and lengthiness were reasons only 7% and 2% (respectively) of the journalists gave for not responding.


What’s the top reason reporters aren’t getting back to you? By a landslide, 73% said the main reason is a lack of relevance to their coverage area. That’s a good reminder for PR professionals to do their research, personalize their pitches, and send the story to the right beat reporter.


Journalists want to interview subject matter experts.

You need to offer more than just a good story in your pitch. Journalists want to know you have qualified, relevant sources ready for them to interview. And when it comes to sources, not just anyone will do.


Journalists overwhelmingly preferred researchers and subject matter experts when asked who they consider credible sources for their reporting. CEOs came in third on their list of preferred interview subjects.


Before hitting send on your pitch, make sure you’ve included credentials on who the journalist can talk to (and ideally when they’re available). It’s even better if you can offer multiple sources with varying perspectives and experience.


Reporters are ‘eh’ on AI but all in on social media.

The media industry falls in an unconventional in-between space when it comes to technological transformation. Digital media has risen for decades, but traditional media isn’t going anywhere. While most reporters (69%) primarily produce content for digital media, 1 in 4 still primarily work for traditional mediums like print, radio, or TV.


AI might be taking some industries by storm, but journalists are still unsure what role generative AI will have in the newsroom. Only 28% of the surveyed journalists use generative AI in their workflow, but another 20% plan to explore it. Meanwhile, 31% reported they have no plans to use it.


While AI is in an iffy stage, journalists emphasized the significance of social media in their profession. More than half of those surveyed said social media is important or very important to their work. The vast majority (70%) use it for promoting their work, and 20% said they use it to produce stories.


So how should you show up on social media to build better relationships with reporters? If promotion is your first priority, one way to get a reporter’s attention is to engage with the stories they post by sharing or commenting on them. If a reporter writes a story about your company, share it on your channels and tag them. To reach the 20% sifting through social media to produce stories, update your channels with news about your companies, blog posts, profiles on your organization’s leaders and their thought leadership, and other content reporters might find useful. 


And where should you show up? X (formerly Twitter) is still the platform most reporters use, but LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are anticipated to grow a bit in popularity this year among reporters.


The news environment continues to shift dramatically year after year. Not only are your audiences spread across a half dozen news mediums, but reporters’ daily workflows and how they vet and choose stories are rapidly evolving. If you’re trying to get a reporter’s attention the way you always have, you’re likely missing out on many untapped opportunities. 


If you are looking to redesign your earned media strategy to see more success in the current media landscape, contact us today or book a one-on-one consultation to talk about getting from pitch to publication.



New Call-to-action



Photo by Startup Stock Photos

Topics: earned media, news media

Liked this blog post? Share it with others!


Comment on This Article

Blog Subscription

Recent Posts

Popular Posts