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85% of journalists we surveyed cannot be reached through newswires

Posted: 2012-11-07 in Resources    |   Tagged: businesswire, newswire, pr newswire, realwire, sourcewire


What do journalists think of newswires? Not much, it turns out, by @TopLineFounder

According to the newswire providers, all you have to do is give them a few hundred quid and they’ll put your media release in front of 100% of national and regional newspaper journalists

“Wow”, you think. “That’s great news. My story is so good that if I could just get it into the inboxes of all the journalists in the country, I’ll be on the BBC Breakfast Sofa before you can say "waste of time and money”.

The claim that sending your story out on a newswire will get it in front of journalists didn’t sit right with us. So we tested it in a very simple poll.

Our methodology:

We contacted 20 journalists (19 by phone, 1 by email) from national, regional and trade (B2B) publications, including The Guardian, CRN, Personnel Today, Metro, TechWeek Europe and Techworld, to name but a few, and asked them where they get their news. 

The result

Only five (25%) answered ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Do you ever get your news from newswires?’ When pressed further, two of those specified non-paid-for / journalistic wires (such as Bloomberg and Reuters). We concluded that if you rely on paid-for newswires to distribute your news, you will not reach the vast majority of journalists (85% of those surveyed in our poll).   

So where are these journalists getting their news then?

We also asked where they get their news and he answers were varied, including RSS feeds, Twitter pitches, Google, press releases sent to them and calls from PRs. Get on the phone people!

Read our other posts in the Value of Newswires Series.

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Does this post make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Or are you fuming? Either way, let us know by posting your comment below. This week, our favourite comment wins its author a £20 Amazon voucher.


Heather Baker

Wed 7th November, 2012

Vitis PR did a similar survey a few months ago. Their sample was much bigger (80 instead of 20 journalists) and they found that 37% use them daily - really interesting study. We asked specifically about where journalists get their news, as opposed to whether they use newswires at all - it seems many find them useful for fact checking. http://www.vitispr.com/blog/how-journalists-use-newswires/

Ranbir Sahota

Wed 7th November, 2012

We have some other interesting posts on newswires too on our blog which may be of interest to your readers: Review of 60 free press release sites - http://www.vitispr.com/blog/free-press-release-sites/ Paid release sites...worth the money? - http://www.vitispr.com/blog/premium-pr-distribution-sites/

Michael Tangeman

Thu 22nd November, 2012

Practice leads me to believe your conclusions may be correct, or at least leaning in the right direction. But, the methodology of a survey with a sample size of 20 (or even 80) is hardly conclusive.

I've run online surveys for clients with 1,700 respondents and by my recollection that kind of sampling gives you about a 95% reliability with a 3-5% margin of error. Even so, when floating the results to news media (Associated Press) comes to mind, they won't even touch any results from online surveys because they are not felt to be scientific enough.

So, again, your point is well-taken and you may well be barking up the right tree ... but "85% of journalists we surveyed ..." means next to nothing when one only samples 20 journalists total.


Wed 30th January, 2013

The point here probably is - the type of survey questionnaire used. www.sogosurvey.com, the online software tool has an impressive collection of sample surveys you can try!


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