2021 State of the Media Report: 4 Takeaways for Journalists

A look at some of the trends, challenges, and pet peeves that journalists shared in Cision’s annual survey.

Cision 2021 Global State of the Media Report booklet

As anyone who’s ever been in a long-term relationship or seen a Nancy Meyers movie will tell you, good relationships take work. And if findings from Cision’s 2021 State of the Media report are any indication, that’s exactly what the relationship between PR pros and journalists could use right now.

According to the report, released last week, while almost half of journalists (48%) are satisfied with their relationship with PR pros, 14% aren’t quite as impressed, and the remainder don’t have strong feelings either way. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

The journalists we surveyed didn’t leave us hanging. They shared some of the surprisingly simple (but not always obvious) actions PR pros can take to build better relationships with the media – no couples therapy required.

These are a few of the interesting findings from our survey of more than 2,700 journalists across 15 countries.

What Journalists Told Us

1. You’re stretched thin

Shrinking newsrooms have reporters juggling multiple beats with demanding workloads and press deadlines. Almost half of journalists (47%) told us they cover 5 or more beats. Nearly the same amount file seven or more stories per week.

2. You’re overwhelmed with (mostly spammy) pitches

Fifty-three percent of journalists receive more than 50 pitches a week. Yet the vast majority of you (69%) said only a quarter (or less) of the pitches you receive are relevant to your audience.

We can help. Cut through the clutter and receive news releases that match your needs with a custom newsfeed with PR Newswire for Journalists. Narrow your results by industry, keyword, geography, and more.

3. You’re (somewhat) optimistic about the public’s trust in the media

But that’s not to say there’s no work to be done. Fifty-three percent of respondents believe the public lost trust in the media over the last year. While that number has been steadily declining over the last several years, it’s clearly still an issue.

In the U.S. specifically, where contentious relationships between the White House and certain media outlets were aired publicly over the last four years, there are signs of optimism. More than a third of journalists (36%) feel the new administration will help the public gain trust in the media.

4. The events of 2020 have changed your editorial strategy

After a year of disruption, division, and a whole lot of headshaking, the public and journalists alike are hungry for positive news. Reporters are also looking for stories on furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion as those conversations continue across communities. In addition, journalists want more research-based, thought leadership content. 

The Bottom Line

We hear you. The easier PR pros make it for journalists to do their jobs, the better and stronger the relationships will be and the more it will pay off for everyone. That’s why we gathered your feedback to provide tips for PR teams to build better relationships with reporters.

For more findings check out the full 2021 Global State of the Media report. Read about the biggest challenges journalists are facing right now, the types of stories they’re interested in most, and their biggest pet peeves.

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Rocky Parker is the manager of Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge-watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson. 

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