ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The results of Bennett & Company’s 25th anniversary survey suggest the divide may be growing between PR professionals and the media. This year’s survey polled more than 29,000 journalists, with 688 completing the survey, or 2.3%.
When asked if they see a growing divide between PR professionals and the media, 49 percent of journalists say “yes”.
Bennett & Company found that 62 percent of journalists now obtain less than 10 percent of their content from PR firms. “Communication channels have expanded to the 1000s, including grassroots social networking, and therefore, our relationships with the media are one of many tasks we do every day; twenty five years ago when this survey began it was how we spent the majority of our day,” explains Laura Bennett, president of Bennett & Company, in reference to this year’s results.
One reporter responded, “I don’t feel a growing divide, but I don’t see the divide getting smaller either. PR professionals need to become more informed on the needs of print media.”
Building a relationship with the reporter fills one such need and makes a difference. Thirty eight percent of journalists said the number one reason they open their email is because they know the sender. Reporters are more likely to use a responsive source they know and trust.
PR professionals need to be just as reliable when things get negative. “Speak openly and honestly when bad news happens. We are seeing a trend of PR people trying to avoid the media or ignore bad news. It only makes things worse,” wrote a network television news director.
The prevalence of “fluff” remains a distracting put-off for busy journalists. “Be fair. Don’t stretch the truth or tell half-truths. When words such as “first,” “best,” “biggest,” or “only” are used, there better be supportive explanations,” one journalist noted.
However great or small the divide is between PR professionals and the media, building relationships with open communication and reliability are still the key. After 25 years, Laura Bennett does not personally feel there is gap, but concedes that her team’s approach to marketing is now more holistic than it was five years ago. Bennett concludes, “The media plays a very important role and PR professionals serve best when they know and respect that role.”