17 February 2014

By Ken Payne

The latest survey report from TEKGROUP hit the street this morning, and the results come as little surprise – distribution, social media, and search top the list of priorities for under-staffed and over-worked newsrooms across the globe.

Among the most telling findings:

Distribution via e-mail alert continues to be the preferred method of contact for busy journalists. However, as more journalists turn to social media, expect the timely tweet to vie for journalist’s attention in the future. A whopping 96% of journalists prefer to receive news via email alert; 95% prefer “pitches” via email alert. It may be important to clarify here – journalists are talking about e-mail alert lists to which they subscribe, not lists that come pre-packaged in a generic media guide. Note to self: include an e-mail alert sign-up link prominently on the home page of the online newsroom.

Social media use as a reporting and information-gathering tool is increasing much faster than other indicators, with use of Twitter in particular seeing double-digit growth over the past three years. 41% of journalists say they visit Facebook “very often” or “often” (a new high for this survey); 15% want to receive news via Twitter; overall Facebook/Twitter usage nearly doubled from prior surveys. Note to self: make sure links to social media properties are prominent on home page, and make sure the content is fresh.

The ability to search news archives remains a key function within the online newsroom architecture, as is a detailed contact list for PR and company representatives. 45% say search is “very important” with only 2% considering search “not important” at all. Note to self: like distribution and social media, make sure there is a prominent search function on the home page, and a link to PR contacts. Just like a news release, put contact information at the top of the page.

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