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The State of Journalism and the Top Three PR Fundamentals to Remember

Written by Meghan Locke


Muck Rack recently published its “State of Journalism 2024” report, which surveyed more than 1,000 journalists along with the International Journalists’ Network, Society of Professional Journalists, and others to learn more about this year’s journalism landscape. The survey covered trends in employment, AI and social media, PR pitching preferences, as well as additional topics.

If you’re a PR professional and you haven’t read it already, you should take the opportunity to do so. The stats reveal great insight into what is happening in the journalist profession right now and how we can continue to be effective in our role working with them.


In this post, I’m going to break down the top media-relations stats of the survey and detail how they tie back to three essential PR fundamentals for success.  


“Despite 46% of journalists receiving over 6 pitches daily, 49% seldom or never respond, mainly due to relevance issues."

1. Do Your Homework: It’s mind-blowing that nearly 50% of journalists don’t respond to pitches because they aren’t relevant to what they cover. It’s a good reminder for us all to thoroughly research the reporters we are pitching. With new tools, such as Muck Rack and other media databases, it’s quicker than ever to put together a large media list and quickly blast out a pitch without taking the time to really comb through reporters to see who is appropriate. Imagine a world where PR professionals only pitched relevant topics to the right reporters. We’d all be that much more successful. “64% of journalists report working more than 40 hours a week and nearly 25% produce a whopping 11 or more stories per week. 65% prefer pitches that are under 200 words.”

2. Respect a Journalist’s Time: For as long as I’ve been in PR, which is close to two decades, journalists have been overburdened working long hours and writing an overwhelming amount of stories each week, and these stats show this trend continues. It’s more important than ever that our pitches are concise, impactful, and provide value. Reporters don’t have time to waste. They need topical, fresh story ideas and the unique insights of true thought leaders to flesh out those stories. And if you want your pitching response rate to increase, resist the temptation to write a short novel, especially with breaking news. Some of my most successful pitches have been just two sentences. These days, content brevity is king. “70% of journalists acknowledge PR professionals as at least moderately important to their success.”

3. Be Real and Add Value: Journalists are regular people. Let’s break down any barriers that exist between us. Personalize your pitches and have an honest conversation with them. My strongest journalist relationships are built on being real. Above all, provide the value they need. And it doesn’t always have to be providing your clients as sources. If you know of other sources, stats or content, or other things that could help aid them with a story, do it. You’ll earn their respect while building strong, ever-lasting relationships that will be mutually beneficial. If we all try to do this, we can move the needle closer to the 100% mark of acknowledging we are important to a journalist’s success.


At the end of the day, journalists need PR people and visa-versa. Let’s work together to shed light on the important stories the world needs to know about. The media landscape will be an even better place for it.  



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