•   01 December 2011

PR in the Middle

Being social media savvy is now second nature to PR and is something that personally fascinates me.  Similarly, our journo cousins have embraced this new medium – as enthusiastically as us – many setting up their own blogs, groups and micro-sites.

What’s less clear is how journalism uses social media to source articles and research stories. In this age of instant digital information, is the press release still the best way to grab a journos’ attention or should we dazzle them with blogs, forums and vodcasts? Even more worryingly, is PR still important to modern journalism?

A recent survey by Cision and the University of Sunderland, aimed to find out.

For all PRs holding your breath, fear not!  The survey showed journalists still view traditional sources like press releases and direct contact with PRs as paramount.

Although journalists’ use of social media and search engines over the past three years has increased, traditional channels are not being negated but are used in conjunction with social media.

In fact, only a small minority of respondents reported using traditional channels either more or less than they did three years ago.

The survey revealed networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook were the single most important social technology for journalism by approximately 30 per cent of UK respondents, with Twitter not far behind.

More surprisingly, Wikipedia was the most used online tool for journalists –with over 60% using the site to check and source stories at least once a week, compared to 22% for blogs, or 34% for news wire services.

However, story ideas, concepts and angles were still drummed up via traditional sources, such as direct PR contact and via corporate sites.

Overall it seems journos are not at all behind the times when it comes to social media – they have welcomed it with both hands. Thankfully it seems that PR is firmly in this three way embrace and PR is still in the middle.