State of the Industry: New Research Highlights PR and Journalism in the COVID Era

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Muck Rack, a top media database platform, surveyed public relations professionals from agencies, companies, and non-profit organizations, as well as journalists from throughout the country in order to determine journalists’ pitching preferences and how public relations professionals are reaching out to the media. The findings are highlighted in two new reports titled The State of Public Relations and The State of Journalism. Below, we share some of the most significant findings impacting our industry. Both reports take into consideration the impact of the global pandemic on their respected industries and highlight the differences between PR professionals’ assumptions and journalists’ preferences.

In the State of Public Relations report, public relations professionals surveyed shared their biggest challenges and best practices:

  • Public relations professionals reported not receiving responses from journalists
  • Professionals reported budget limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pitches are kept short (100-200 words) and follow ups are sent out between 3-7 days after the initial pitch
  • Professionals relied on unique monthly site visits (UMV’s), impressions and total number of media placements as key performance indicators

The State of Journalism revealed the following about journalists and the journalism industry:

  • 90 percent of respondents said their work had pivoted to include COVID-19 in some way
  • Journalists preferred being pitched on Mondays via one-on-one pitches no longer than 100-200 words
  • Journalists preferred being pitched on Monday between 5AM – 12PM EST
  • When it comes to what pitches they act on, journalists cited timeliness of stories as more important than their beat
  • Those surveyed are willing to consider exclusives

Based on the two reports, public relations professionals should be aware of the following:

  • Public relations professionals and journalists say the role of Public Relations is changing
  • Journalists have shifted their stories to cover the public’s demand for current events
  • Public relations professionals are heavily reliant on journalists for media exposure
  • 59 percent of journalists stated their relationship with agencies are mutually beneficial, but not a partnership
  • Journalists have the upper hand when it comes to choosing which stories are published
  • Public Relations professionals should be keenly aware of what the public is looking to consume and adjusting pitch angles accordingly

The full Muck Rack reports can be found here:

State of Journalism

State of Public Relations