Where Do Journalists Source Their Stories?

Where Do Journalists Source Their Stories?

As part of PR outreach campaigns, we implement a lot of different strategies and tactics to get our clients’ news in front of journalists for potential inclusion in their upcoming articles. But are our pitches always the most effective way to help reporters source their stories? Perhaps our other efforts, including press releases, blog posts, and tweets are more preferable in some instances.

To help answer this question, Oriella’s 2012 global digital journalism study asked 613 journalists across 16 countries what their first preference was for a source when researching a story. The choices offered, in order of rank, included interviews with corporate spokespeople (24%), newswires (12%), press releases (11%), other media sites (11%), PR agencies (7%), corporate websites (6%), government (4.5%), analysts (4%), Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn (4%), third-party blogs (2%), corporate blogs (1%), and video sites (1%) [see chart below from page 6 of the report].

It’s interesting that interviews were discovered as journalists’ number one preferred source. In light of this, a timely PR pitch that offers a relevant spokesperson may very well be the ultimate PR strategy for disseminating news and securing clients’ coverage. With newswires and press releases coming in second and third, however, a combined approach is likely going to garner even more success.

Looking further at press release preferences though, it’s interesting to also note the decline between 2011 and 2012 data. In 2011, press releases ranked first at 22 percent as journalists’ most preferred source when researching a story, but in 2012, this saw a 50 percent decline to just an 11 percent preference. There’s been much speculation about the declining importance of the press release, but, when coupled with strategic PR pitching and interviews, can still be an effective way for journalists to source their stories.


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