The State of Journalism in 2024: Three Key Takeaways

By Lauren Trieschmann

As PR professionals, we’re well aware that the state of journalism is constantly evolving. Less than halfway through the year, we’ve already witnessed mass layoffs from over a dozen major media companies and heated debates about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on journalism.

As we approach the halfway mark of 2024, our team has identified three key learnings to help inform your media relations strategies for the remainer of the year.

1. Journalists have a lot on their plates. PR professionals can help make their jobs easier.

According to Muck Rack’s 2024 State of Journalism Report, nearly a quarter of full-time staff journalists produce 11 or more stories weekly, with 64% working over 40 hours weekly. 79% reported working after hours at least once a week, while 34% reporting working late most days.

With so many assignments and deadlines to juggle, it’s more important than ever to ensure we’re doing our part to get journalists the information they need in a timely and streamlined manner. This could mean sharing a digital folder with all the necessary images, documents, and data needed for a story, or jumping on the phone to answer questions and confirm important details when a writer is coming up on a deadline. Being organized and nimble are essential qualities for achieving success in PR, especially when it comes to media relations.  

2. Reporters receive dozens – or in some cases, hundreds – of pitches each day. Make sure yours is worth reading.

A whopping 49% of those surveyed for Muck Rack’s State of Journalism Report say they “seldom or never respond [to PR pitches], mainly due to relevance issues.” At the same time, 70% acknowledge that PR professionals are important to their success. So, what can we deduce from this?

With so many competing pitches and press releases filling up journalists’ inboxes, it’s important to make yours stand out. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to do your research and make sure the product or topic you’re pitching is actually in line with what they cover. Quality over quantity is the golden rule here – in other words, you could pitch 300 contacts, but if you don’t have a carefully curated media list, you might not get any interest. Researching just 15 writers whose area of focus aligns closely with your pitch will likely garner much better results. From there, tailor your pitch to include insights and data that’s relevant to their readers, and whenever possible reference their previous writings to show you’ve done your homework.

Of course, no good pitch is complete without an attention-grabbing subject line. Leading with a subject line that reads like the headline of an article – concise, intriguing, and leaves the recipient wanting to learn more – is crucial when it comes to your pitching strategy.

3. Sources can make or break a story. Include legitimate and reliable sources in pitches whenever you can.     

Perhaps not surprisingly, journalists surveyed in the Muck Rack report have a strong preference for subject matter experts (82%) and researchers (77%) when it comes to sources for their stories. CEOs are also seen as a credible source by many, coming in third with 46% of respondents naming them as a credible source.

Among the least reliable sources according to the report are bloggers and social media influencers, with just 7% of journalists reporting they would leverage these types of sources in their reporting. This data indicates the importance of identifying the right expert source for a given topic before you even start pitching. Trust us: journalists will be incredibly appreciative if you can provide them with the right expert to provide commentary that will pique their readers’ interest.

Want to learn more about our media relations services? Reach out to the Double Forte team for more information.