Journalists Turn to Online News Tools

by / Newsroom Ink on 08/12/2011

by Springfield Lewis, Newsroom Ink

In an annual survey of more than 500 worldwide newspaper, broadcast, magazine, trade and online journalists from 15 countries concluded that PR is best suited to ‘own’ digital media and that social media is rapidly becoming the key barometer of influence on journalists.

The Oriella Digital Journalism Study is an annual survey of journalists carried out by the Oriella PR Network, a leading global alliance of independent technology PR agencies.

The study shows that brands can no longer afford to manage digital communications for marketing and corporate communications in separate silos. Ownership of digital media should reside with corporate communications.

For research, journalists are turning increasingly to online tools. Brands wishing to stand out must communicate their stories and messages effectively to their own digital followings, as well as complementing conventional written collateral with visuals, videos and opinion-led content which journalists can re-publish.

According to study findings, companies must establish open and transparent conversations about their brand with journalists. Journalists are becoming more willing to use PR-generated content that is transparent about both its provenance and its veracity. Companies also must make sure materials are branded clearly with the source and methodologies behind statistics cited made clear.

Storytelling remains the key element of communication. The proliferation of channels makes a single, clear storyline, communicated effectively in text, video and images more important than ever. Brands must ensure their message does not get lost in its delivery.

Effective monitoring and containment strategies are vital for communicators to protect corporate reputations. The study found that with the rapid dissemination of digital information, brands must be ready to enter conversations they do not ‘own’.

One key objective of the Oriella Digital Journalism Study is to chart the growing impact of online media. Slightly less than half of the media surveyed said that approximately 60% of their online work was new, not repurposed from traditional media – up more than 10% from the 2008 study.

One very disturbing trend from the study found that approximately one-third journalists surveyed used Facebook and Twitter to validate existing stories, the other two thirds still use traditional sources such as PR agencies and corporate spokespersons.

The study found that social media usage by journalists hit an all time high. Half of those surveyed said their publications had Twitter, blogs and used video. This has inevitably increased the pressure on reporters to produce more content and work longer hours. Less than half surveyed felt the quality of journalism had improved over the past two years, and one third was undecided. More than 40% of the journalists did respond they enjoyed their work, up from the previous two years.

In today’s world where reporters work harder than ever in real time and across multi-platforms, companies and their brands need to adapt to the changing needs of journalism worldwide. Companies need to position their communication strategy to aligning to the CEO/corporate message for their online presence.

Newsroom Ink supports the findings of The Oriella Digital Journalism Sudy, however does express concern that it did not adequately address the use of online newsrooms by journalists.

The dynamic online newsroom is the only measurable digital tool that safely meets the wide variety of needs of professional journalists – generated content, story ideas, high-res images, videos and accurate fact checking – all telling the brand’s story from it’s unique perspective.

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