The media landscape continues to rapidly evolve and 2020 is no exception. In fact, the global pandemic has caused drastic changes to the media landscape. Media software company, Cision, surveyed more than 3,000 journalists to discuss the fluid media ecosystem, the relationship between publicists and journalists, and COVID-19’s impact on all of this. Below are key takeaways from the report.

COVID-19 – Coronavirus has undoubtedly shifted the way public and PR professionals interact and communicate with the media. Most journalists reported that email is still the preferred method of communication and is more critical now because of reduced resources. While many of their stories have shifted to COVID-related news, journalists are seeking other stories, including positive news. They realize how important COVID still is to report on, but they also recognize that readers are yearning for other news.

Challenges for the Media – Each year brings new challenges for journalists and one theme is consistent: distrust in the media. While trust is on the rise, it’s still a major issue. To combat this, journalists are prioritizing accuracy over timeliness. With accusations of fake news, journalists are under a microscope to remain accurate and relevant. According to the report, lack of general access to pertinent resources, staff cuts and media bias also continue to be mounting challenges that create roadblocks in their reporting efforts.

While bias is natural, it can often affect how a story is reported. Journalists believe the best way to fight your personal bias is to ask yourself what your bias is, counteract it and listen to your colleague’s feedback. For PR professionals or companies handling their own marketing efforts, one suggestion is to take yourself out of the brand you’re working for and think of your pitch in the eyes of the reporter.

How to Get Your Pitches Noticed – Reporters’ inboxes are flooded with hundreds of pitches and press releases, with some receiving over 151 pitches a week. Additionally, with over 31% of reporters filing over 10 stories a week (an uptick from 2019), PR pros need to directly tell them in one to two sentences why this topic matters to the public. Save everyone time by skipping the blandishments. Do your research and provide context on why the reporter should care. This is also where the importance of personalization comes into play. Address the reporters by their names because a blanket email won’t catch their attention. Moreover, providing any data or resources the reporter can use are helpful as well. You want to demonstrate to the reporter you understand their coverage area and their readers.

Experts, Experts, Read All About Them! – Journalists want experts to be available via video during this time. Make that known in your email to them and even include their Skype name if possible. As noted, the reporters are swamped with editorial demands and by making your client accessible streamlines the interview process. Notably, email is still key to getting the reporter’s attention but anticipating next steps makes it easier for both parties.

Want to listen for yourself? Check out the recorded webinar here.