The Ritz Herald
© AbsolutVision

Trends and Challenges Facing the Media Industry and PR Professionals in 2020

In its eleventh year of the report, Cision surveyed over 3,200 journalists, its largest ever

Published on April 22, 2020

Cision released its 2020 State of the Media Report, the company’s eleventh annual, which uncovers the latest trends and challenges facing the media industry, and how PR professionals can better work with their journalist counterparts. This year’s report is Cision’s largest ever, surveying more than 3,200 journalists from 15 countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

Since the State of the Media survey was initially conducted prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cision sent a follow-up questionnaire at the end of March to ensure the impact of the crisis was properly reflected in the report. Those results are included in a special COVID-19 section of the report and provide insight into how PR and communications professionals can best support journalists during this time.

“For the last 11 years, Cision has produced the State of the Media Report as a way to provide a full and honest picture of what journalists are dealing with at that particular time,” said Sarah Parker, Head of Content Marketing at Cision. “While each year brings a set of new challenges, 2020 is obviously an especially difficult one. Our goal is to help strengthen the relationship between PR professionals and the media, so it was crucial to reach back out to understand how journalists are managing these unprecedented times.”

In addition to how COVID-19 has impacted the media, Cision’s 2020 State of the Media Report covers topics including:

  • The challenges facing journalism in 2020 and how reporters measure success
  • Trust and bias in the media
  • Technology’s impact on the media landscape
  • How PR professionals can improve their pitches
  • How PR and communications professionals can build stronger relationships with reporters

Despite an increasing number of challenges facing journalists, including staffing and resources and mounting workloads, the report reveals several optimistic takeaways, most notably a reported decline in attacks on freedom of the press.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Distrust in the media is decreasing in the eyes of journalists. For the fourth year in a row, respondents reported a decrease in the public’s distrust of the media; 59% of respondents felt the public lost trust this year, which is down from 63% in 2019, 71% in 2018 and 91% in 2017.
  • Ensuring accuracy continues to be deemed most crucial: For the second year in a row, 51% of journalists say that ensuring content is 100% accurate is more important than revenue, exclusivity, or being the first to publish. Especially in the age of COVID-19, it’s become increasingly crucial to ensure that content is as accurate as possible.
  • Social media algorithms are ranked the most important new technology impacting journalists today, while the heady promise of AI continues to fade. 41% of journalists agreed that social media algorithms will change the way they work the most, up from 38% in 2019. Only 15% of respondents see AI/machine learning as the most important technology to affect the industry. This is down from 19% in 2019.
  • All coverage is now being looked at through the lens of COVID-19. Journalists also reported looking for more optimistic, human stories in response to the current news cycle.

The report is now available in the US and will be available internationally in the coming weeks.

Read the full Cision 2020 State of the Media Report.

Cision will also host a Livestream event on April 28th with a panel of journalists to discuss the State of the Media findings in further detail. The expert panel will include reporters from TechCrunch, The Toronto Star and Yahoo Finance. Learn more and register for the Livestream.

Executive Editor