State of the News Media 2016

Each year, the Pew Research Center for Journalism and Media releases its "State of the News Media" report. For those of us in the communications industry, it is absolutely indispensable reading. It reinforces trends we're seeing, and helps point us in the right direction for the future. 

  • Newsrooms continue to shrink. This doesn't surprise anyone in media relations, but it's of note to consider mention that journalists' tenure is shorter, meaning that relationships you form are more tenuous. Not that they're not important, they are. But, the reporter you pitch today may not be the one you pitch tomorrow. They may jump ship to a different newsroom, and you'll be starting again with someone else. What does this mean? Your pitch needs to be stronger. It needs to be well thought through since you can't always rely on your relationship to get you in the door. 
  • Mobile is the driver of digital growth. In the vast majority (99 of 110) of the outlets studied, unique visitors on digital outpaced unique visitors accessing the sites via desktop. For content producers: Public affairs teams and grassroots leaders need to think of their mobile audience and the type of content that will appeal to them. Consider developing easily shareable content with heavy imagery and limited text because screen sizes are small.
  • 62% of American adults get their news on social media. And perhaps most important for us, they're getting political news online, not just the latest Kardashian Kraze. 65% of Americans got coverage of the election from digital sources, including 44% on social media sites. The growth since the '12 Presidential cycle is astonishing, when only 36% turned to Internet sources overall for campaign coverage, and a mere 17% to social media. Key takeaway here: Don't shy away from sharing your organization's viewpoint or relevant coverage if you're engaging in a meaningful way in the process. People are coming to expect political news (not rants) from those they follow.
  • Platforms are expanding...slowly. Of the 40 digital news distributors surveyed, every last one of them is on Facebook. We've heard that millennials are jumping ship to newer platforms like Snapchat, but you can't ignore the size of the Facebook audience. Facebook is still useful for sharing your story, but we need to keep an eye on the other platforms available to us such as Snapchat and Instagram. The old adage is true, a picture is worth a thousand words...and is more shareable. In fact, of the 40 'digital native' publishers, half of them already have a presence on Snapchat. 

I hope you have a chance to review the report. Let me know what you think in the comments below.