11 July 2007

That it’s imperative today for organizations to have an online newsroom is one of the many findings of the 2007 Online Newsroom Survey. The research, conducted annually by TEKgroup International, Inc., gathers feedback from journalists.


The 39-question survey was distributed to approximately 7,000 journalists, and the nearly 2 percent who replied relayed how those journalists use a company’s online newsroom, and what they expect from the site and the communicators who maintain it.


Of the journalists who participated, 100 percent felt that it is important for a company to have an online newsroom. Seven percent felt it was “somewhat important,” 32 percent felt it was, “important” and 61 percent said it was “very important.”  The combination of these results adds up to a 10 percent hike over last year.


Think near-future

For the communicators who have not yet created an online news center, 94 percent of journalists believe you should in the future. Think near-future based on the 8 percent increase in the number of journalists who visit online newsrooms “often” to “very often,” now standing at 78 percent.


No longer can a PR professional say that journalists don’t visit online newsrooms of small companies or won’t enter password-protected sections. A new statistic shows that 93 percent of journalists visit “both large and small-to-medium” sized company sites and willingness to register for entry increased 3 percent to 86 percent.


It also can’t be ignored that 98 percent of journalists preferred to receive information through e-mail alerts generated via an online newsroom. The PR department for Volkswagen of America, Inc., for instance, successfully distributes e-mail alerts to their database of journalists. “We send a teaser alert from media.vw.com,” says Tom Wegehaupt, PR coordinator. “It contains a logo, headline, abstract and a link to the newsroom. The return link enables us to report on whether or not the journalist accessed the full release.”  The report also yields identification of journalists and their associated publications.


More interest in video, RSS feeds

For the many practicing communicators who have recognized the tendency for journalists to opt for an online newsroom,  journalists showed a rising interest in the following elements: photographs (up 4 percent), audio (up 2 percent), video (up 12 percent), event schedules (up 8 percent), crisis communications (up 4 percent) and RSS feeds (up 6 percent).


Submitted comments from respondents about what they seek include:

  “Photographs always of a person named in a press release, promotion, quote.”

  “Latest product releases with photos and additional information.”

  “Product info, mostly, past, present and future, including pictures, specs.”

  “High-resolution picture files.”

  “Photos/videos are important for online journalism.”

  “Videos for editorial use.”

  “Graphics, audio — in particular, pronunciation of product names. MP3 audio of news conferences, lectures. Live feeds are important too.”


The top-three audio file formats accessible by journalists were .mp3 (21 percent), .wav (19 percent) and .mov (QuickTime) (19 percent).The top 3 video file formats were .wmv (23 percent), .mov (QuickTime) (23 percent) and .mpeg (21 percent). PR contacts were one of the elements most desired by journalists, substantiated with remarks such as “absolutely put the e-mail and phone number of media contacts” and “believe it or not, a lot of sites don’t have basic contact info — addresses, phone numbers, contacts.”  This rose 6 percent, with 90 percent of journalists in agreement.


A new detail derived from this year’s survey is that 52 percent of journalists affirm that it is “important” to “very important” to be able to access a PR contact’s cell phone.  Add that to the 28 percent who consider it “somewhat important.”


The ability to search archives is also valued. With an increase of 7 percent to 92 percent, this viewpoint is supported by the following requests: “please, make the content searchable” and “list press releases by date and do not make me click on a month or a year . . . press releases should also be searchable,” and the simple statement “archived news.” Notably, 66 percent of journalists prefer press releases in a text rather than a PDF file format.


The complete survey can be found at https://www.tekgroup.com.




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