We recently conducted a survey to better understand the content needs of our broadcast media partners to utilize for our own operational purposes to help make their jobs a bit easier, and to be able to provide some key insights to the client partners we work with.
We thank all participants, which range from English-language and Spanish-language stations, to national networks and local stations in the top-50 markets across the country, for taking the time to provide honest and insightful feedback. Respondents work in all newsroom positions including: anchors, news directors, on-air reporters, producers, and editors (and those who wear multiple hats). What follows is a summary of key findings that we hope you’ll find useful in the coming year.
Perhaps not too surprisingly, Economy/Finance, Health, and Education which have topped topic lists in recent years are again the topics respondents said they’d focus on covering in the upcoming year; with the official launch of the Affordable Care Act, consumer confidence still wavering and mid-term elections on the horizon, this isn’t a stretch. More than 86% of respondents indicated that the economy and stories concerning the financial well-being of Americans will be important for them to cover in the upcoming year, and nearly 84 percent said the same for the topics of health and education.
The findings suggest there are some key differences in the preferences of our respondents when comparing English-language stations and Spanish-language stations. We will delve into more specific detail in an upcoming blog post, but some of the highlights include:
- Our Spanish-language stations communicated they plan to also focus on immigration. More than half of our respondents from Spanish-language stations indicated they plan to delve further into this subject with stories and interviews as they feel this issue is of key interest to their listeners.
- The Spanish-language respondents placed greater emphasis than their colleagues at English-language stations on coverage of Entertainment and Celebrity related stories. Nearly 80 percent (78%) of Spanish-language respondents indicated that entertainment stories are important for them to cover, compared to about 20 percent of respondents from English-language stations.
Additional findings from the survey provide helpful reminders of how we can better serve our newsroom partners:
- Close to 80 percent of respondents indicated they utilize pitched content to some extent or to a great extent in their reporting. With these high-caliber, trusted journalists who have plenty of their own quality, original content to report, the bar for pitched content is high and so it’s a privilege to often be a trusted resource for them.
- One of the most interesting trends we noticed was the frequency of use of social media in day-to-day newsroom operations. Greater than three quarters of respondents (78%) said they utilize social media either to some or to a great extent when gathering news content. This suggests that social media is not only a good way to connect with reporters and promote news, but also that it has “made it” as a legitimate, useful and seemingly long-term tool for journalists.
- Another great reminder: the importance of having an effective and well-written news release. Nearly 100 percent (97%) of respondents reported utilizing news releases to determine the day’s news. Whether it’s in the form of a standard, formal release sent to a myriad of newsrooms – or a specifically targeted, personalized pitch to a reporter – it is critical to take the time to hook the specific reporter and provide key information most relevant to their audience. It is imperative to always keep in mind who the end listener – the end consumer – is.
- From our respondents working at local stations, one theme arose over and over again: local, local, local. Respondents stressed their desire to be offered content and spokespeople local to their listeners. While nothing is cut and dry in the world of journalism, the more relevant you can make your news story for your end consumer, the better.
It’s always helpful to be reminded by the great reporters we have relationships with of what is topical and important for them. We know their main goal is to give listeners information they want to hear and that is most relevant for them. Our goal is to be an effective and trusted conduit for this information provided by our client partners. We are excited by the survey’s insights that will enable us to serve the reporters and the clients we work with better than ever.