Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Survey Shows 50% Of Journalists Thinking Of Leaving This Year

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 29, 2009

Wednesday morning I took part in a lively panel discussion organized by PR Week that included John Byrne, Executive Editor, BusinessWeek; Erica Iacono, Executive Editor, PRWeek; Michael Schiferl, EVP & Director of Media Relations, Weber Shandwick; and Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Distribution Services, PR Newswire.

The topic was the results of a PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey 2009 (download). Among the findings: 50 percent of journalists are considering a new career in 2009! This is stunning, I can't imagine any other profession where one-half of the practicioners are seriously considering leaving by the end of this year.

John Byrne said that BusinessWeek relies heavily on its readers for story ideas; it also reveals what it's working on so that readers can get involved in the research, and that the old days of keeping story ideas secret from competitors are largely gone.

Here are some additional findings:

...The numbers of print journalists expecting a decline in their circulation and an increased focus on the Web at their outlet in the next three years is 62%, up from 55.8% last year, while the number expecting staff reductions is 42%, compared to 26.2% last year. In addition, 8% expect a shuttering of the print title and a future online-only existence, up from 2.9% last year.

...70% of journalists say their workload is more this year compared to last.

...58% of print media respondents expect their outlet to publish a regular print product indefinitely, compared to 64% last year; 11% say one to three years, compared to 9% last year; and 9% expect it to remain for another four to five years, similar to last year.

...77% of respondents have a social network profile, up from 54% last year. Of those who participate in social networking, 58% have profiles on Facebook, 51% on LinkedIn, and 28% and 22% are on MySpace and Twitter, respectively. Of those with a social networking presence, 25% publish content to those pages several times a week, while 13% do so several times a day.

...Of traditional media respondents, 43% are the author of a blog; 28% say it is for their traditional outlet, 16% blog as their own hobby; and 9% write a personal blog for the industry they cover.

...20% say they use blog searches, while 17% say they often employ company blogs. In the course of researching a story, 29% use general blogs, 25% use company blogs, and 24% use social networks. Yet, when asked how often blogs are part of research, 39% say always or sometimes, while 61% say rarely or never.

...The survey finds that 31% of journalists have been pitched via a social network. Of those who responded that they had been, 62% say they've been pitched via Facebook, 42% by LinkedIn, 18% by Twitter, and 13% by another network.

...e-mail is still the preferred method of reporters and editors, as 90% of journalists say they prefer the medium to receive unsolicited information about a company, and 80% say the platform is the best way for PR pros to reach them. Asked what the ideal PR pitch looks like, 62% of respondents reply “a personalized, concise e-mail” while 22% say a traditional press release. Only 3% say phone calls are the ideal pitching technique.

...The PRWeek/PR Newswire Survey was conducted by CA Walker. E-mail notification was sent to about 115,502 traditional journalists and 1,462 bloggers. A total of 2,174 respondents (2,091 traditional journalists and 83 bloggers) completed the survey online from January 15 through February 9, 2009.

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