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Bennett & Company's 14th Annual Media Survey 2004 Media Preferences - Inside and Out

July 2004 (Newstream) -- The results from Bennett & Company's 14th Annual Media Survey have been tallied and some pose real head-scratchers. Keep reading as we reveal surprising finds and journalists' preferences -- inside and out.

Media and Communication

  • Fifty-eight percent of media chose e-mail as their preferred method of communication (a climbing statistic since 1997).
  • Only 37 percent of media say they receive e-mail most often. Mail trailed closely with 25 percent followed by fax (16 percent), wire service (12 percent) and telephone (11 percent).
  • Eighty-one percent of journalists responded to Bennett & Company's 14th Annual Media Survey via e-mail or by accessing the survey online at www.bennettandco.com - a 19 percent increase since 2002.
  • Fifty percent of the media polled said they respond more readily to a personalized address. Four percent said that a general "editor" address will do. Although the remaining
  • 46 percent did not have a preference, many noted that personalized communications reach them quicker.
  • Seventy percent of journalists said that they read every e-mail except for obvious spam.
  • Twenty-three said that they read e-mail with compelling subject lines and the remaining eight percent admit that they only read e-mails from senders they already know.

How important are weekend, night and cell phone numbers for contacts on news releases? Back in 1990, 44 percent of journalists said they were not necessary. In 2004 journalists feel differently. Extremely important and somewhat important shared the tie each with a 36 percent response. This year, just 21 percent said they were not necessary and the remaining seven percent preferred client contacts.

Writing the Story

While the number of journalists who do not care if information is presented in AP style (34 percent) was surprising, the majority did agree that following AP writing guidelines is important (66 percent).

Fifty-seven percent of the media polled said that they do use syndicated stories.

Multimedia Grabs Attention of Multiple Media

According to Bennett & Company's 14th Annual Media Survey, multimedia may make or break the chances of story coverage. Fifty-nine percent of journalists said that the availability of multimedia does impact story use.

Whether it's providing color photos with captions or thinking out-of-the-box when designing media materials, story hooks may be found in the collaterals. Keep reading to find out how to use multimedia effectively as well as evolving trends and journalists' preferences for multimedia.

Using Multimedia Effectively

Media collaterals should be emblematic of your product. Use materials, sound-chips and other special effects to make your materials stand out from the rest.

For example:

By adding a motion-sensitive sound-chip that mimics the sound of an airline client's aircraft taking off as the media kit folder opens, Bennett & Company successfully turned what some may have thought of as a "so what?" story into a successful media campaign that not only generated media coverage in every market Spirit Airlines served, but also earned six major marketing/media relations awards.

PR pros can beef up news releases by adding photos with identifying captions (high resolution images, 300 dpi or greater in jpeg format) or graphs illustrating rising trends. For broadcast media, audio and video components are always helpful (be sure to have VHS and b-roll available to accommodate specific requests).

Trends and Preferences for Multimedia

A surprising 56 percent of journalists said that they prefer to receive multimedia through e-mail attachments. You may also provide links to downloadable graphics.

While only 12 percent of journalists said that they prefer to receive collaterals from a client's online media room and 33 percent indicated that they depend on media rooms for additional information for stories, Bennett & Company anticipates this trend to rise in the coming years -- stay tuned.

Multimedia, however, hasn't always been a welcomed package for the majority of media. In 1994, 56 percent of journalists said that including visuals does not increase the chances of getting media coverage. In 1995, 70 percent of media discouraged gimmick deliveries.

Media Thoughts on PR Firms

According to Bennett & Company's 14th Annual Media Survey, 68 percent of journalists indicate that they do depend on PR firms for story ideas and content, however 62 percent say that PR materials only account for one to 10 percent of their story content. Although the majority of journalists (61 percent) do not feel PR firms are getting more credible, many do -- 39 percent to be exact -- an 11 percent increase from 2002. Fifty-one percent of journalists believe that the main objective of a PR firm is to create or enhance the image of a client. Other responses include media relations (25 percent), working with management on marketing goals and implementation (12 percent), increasing client revenue (seven percent), special events such as news conferences (four percent) and competing with advertising (one percent).

In the Office

Seventy-one percent of journalists say they have more responsibilities at their job than last year -- a six percent increase from 2002 and a record high response for the media survey question.

Forty-five percent say they do have less help to do their job than last year, while the remaining 55 percent said they do not.

To find out more about how journalists responded to Bennett & Company's 14th Annual Media Survey, visit us online at www.bennettandco.com.

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Copyright 2004


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