May 18, 2023 - Economy

New Cision report finds journalists want data

Illustration of a notebook with a line chart coming off the page

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As newsrooms shrink and faith in media plummets, journalists are looking for more ways to tell compelling and trustworthy stories, according to a new report from media monitoring platform Cision.

Driving the news: Cision surveyed 3,132 journalists from across the globe in February and March to gauge the industry's top priorities and challenges.

  • The biggest challenges are smaller newsrooms and reduced resources, the balancing act of covering important topics while also driving business and battling misinformation.
  • The top priorities for journalists include accurate reporting, maintaining audience trust, and sharing stories that impact communities.
  • Journalists are also changing their social media habits, flocking to LinkedIn and Instagram in place of Twitter, according to the report.

State of play: When it comes to the relationship status of media and strategic communicators, it’s complicated.

  • For almost every journalist who says relationships with communications professionals have become more valuable, there's one who says those relationships have gotten worse.
  • Some of the most common gripes include receiving irrelevant, jargon-filled pitches and too many follow-ups.
  • And according to the report, a surefire way to get blocked is by sending pitches that read like marketing materials and include phrases like "urgent industry-leading breaking news" when it’s not.

Zoom in: Journalists are increasingly looking for compelling data to inform their reporting, and 68% want to see original research and trend data in pitches.

  • "When asked specifically what communications professionals can do to make their jobs easier, 66% of journalists responded with 'provide data and expert sources.'"

🖼 The big picture: As attention spans continue to shrink, reporters are relying more on visuals to tell a story.

  • 43% of journalists say they’ve used data visualizations in the last year and 1 in 3 won't consider covering a product unless the pitch includes “data showing trends and problems the product is solving for my readers,” according to Cision.
  • Plus, 77% report using images and 44% include video in their reporting.

The bottom line: For a pitch to be effective, multimedia assets and expert voices must be readily available and PR pros should be comfortable explaining data.

  • Yes, but: PR teams should first make sure the methodology aligns with the outlet's requirements.
  • Plus, it's a bonus when communicators are able to share bespoke data sets and raw numbers that show a trend or big picture observation.
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