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Journalists prefer direct contact: 77 percent do not use press portals for their research

In a current journalist survey the integrated communication agency HBI Helga Bailey GmbH seeks to find out how reporters conduct their research. The survey identifies the importance of press centers from agencies as well as from companies. 4700 journalists from various branches were questioned.

The online survey contained five different questions to be answered by the journalists. They could also leave an individual comment for each question. Evaluating the results, HBI gathered surprising insights.

The general trend leads away from traditional press portal towards information gathering via the companies’ or PR-agencies’ websites. 77.4 percent of journalists claimed that they do not use press centers such as at all. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and co. face an even bigger skepticism. 43 percent refused to use social networks for information gathering in general. Those who use social networks definitely prefer the classic ones such as Facebook (41,3%) and Twitter (32,3%) over business networks like LinkedIn (17,5%) and Xing (21,5%).

In general, the questioned reporters rated the distribution of press releases via email positively. 74.8 percent even expect that from a PR-agency. However, the distribution of press releases via email should not be exaggerated. For example, one journalist states: “I feel like I’m suffocating in press information mails.” As a better alternative many name RSS-Feeds and short teasers via email with included download-links. It is especially important for journalists to be able to filter the information thematically and to only receive customer information that is of interest for them.

The survey’s core question was if reporters directly use press portals of PR-agencies. The evaluation shows that company websites are preferred over those of PR-agencies. On the one hand, 72.1 percent confirm that they use company websites. On the other hand, only 26.1 percent state that they do moderately use press centers offered by PR-agencies. Reading the comments, it becomes clear that this is due to the fact that the agencies are often unknown or not even mentioned on the company’s website. However, if the website of a company is not up-to-date or does not contain all relevant information (“especially when one can’t find anything on the website”) editors use press centers or Google search instead.

Corinna Voss, Managing Director at HBI, comments: “The results of our survey show that personal contact between the press and company representatives is essential for a successful communication. A thoroughly maintained distribution list is key. This ensures that journalist only get the information they need. Companies benefit from our network and the press-friendly preparation of content."

Thanks to our partner in the Worldcom PR Group HBI.

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