What the State of the Media Means for Media Relations in 2024 

2023 was yet another difficult year for journalists. According to Poynter Institute, 20,000+ media jobs were eliminated – this is more than in 2021 and 2022, which also saw big losses for the industry. With that, existing reporters are left scrambling to pick up the pieces. The news doesn’t stop just because the newsroom shrunk. The average journalist now covers four beats across two or more mediums. It’s grueling, exhausting and stressful work.  

As PR professionals, we know how important and critical the job of a reporter is, and we know your brand will still benefit from the coverage they can generate. That’s why, when it comes to media relations in 2024, you don’t just need a strategic, thoughtful and flexible plan – you need a team of media relations experts that know how to work with journalists in a way that is sympathetic, understanding and helpful in order to maintain and build those crucial media relationships. 

What it takes to connect with journalists in 2024: 

  1. Get straight to the point 

According to Cision, half of all media say they get between 50-100 pitches a week! It’s critical you make your pitches stand out. Keep your subject line short and to the point. Write relevant and concise pitches (67% of reporters want pitches under 200 words.). It may sound like a no brainer, but make sure you are sending them to the right person and pitch them in the morning (61% want pitches in their inbox before noon). Oh, and be strategic with your follow up emails – 25% of reporters say they don’t want a follow-up email at all, so knowing the preferences of the reporter you’re corresponding with can go a long way. Speaking a reporter’s language and pitching them how they want to be pitched can put you in a great position to become a trusted source and one they come back to for additional story opportunities. 

  1. Include multimedia elements 

Internal data from Cision PR Newswire shows that press releases that include multimedia elements get up to 6x more engagement than press releases with text alone. Remember – it’s 2024, and these reporters are wearing multiple hats in newsrooms with very little staff. If you want to get your expert an interview and get your brand coverage, provide the reporter with everything they need to file their story: photos, b-roll, graphics, and charts.  

  1. Show ‘em the money (well, not literally) 

According to Cision, 68% of journalists said they want research, trends and market data sent to them, with 66% saying that when PR professionals provide data and expert sources to them, we make their jobs easier. Pro tip: Send them everything you have to prove you are capable, prepared, responsive and understanding of their job. Let them decide whether or not they need to use the content. Giving reporters more than they need shows them that you understand their role as a journalist, and it can help establish a great relationship.  

Michelle McCoy is a Media Relations Manager on SHIFT Communication’s Consumer team.

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