PR CONTENT MAKES UP 30 PER CENT OF UK NEWSPAPER STORIES
One of the best things about working in PR is seeing your hard-researched story in a national newspaper. For me, nothing beats the buzz of a journalist following a lead that you’ve pitched; and seeing that story translate into column inches.
Journalism is now – more than ever – an industry being pulled in all directions. In addition to all the bread-and-butter legwork that goes into newsgathering; journalists are being asked to learn social media, video journalism, and help compensate for the many layoffs newsrooms have been forced to make over the last decade.
It is thus often down to PR professionals (I like to think of us as the sidekicks of the journalism industry) to help with some of this legwork, and to start thinking like journalists. The way I see it, PR is without doubt integral to the modern newsgathering process.
I’ve often wondered how much of the news we read originates from a PR source, so I spent a week analysing the content of seven national newspapers over 5 days (week commencing 13th January) to determine (as best I could) what proportion of news stories in each paper derived from a PR source. My top line findings were as follows:
The Daily Express contained the highest percentage of ‘PR stories’, with a staggering 41 per cent of its news articles demonstrating clear indicators of PR involvement*. The Guardian appeared to show the smallest level of PR involvement, with its average percentage for the week sitting at just 16 per cent.
All in all, this works out at an average of 27 per cent of all news stories in all the papers examined that, in my view, could not have been published without the aid of a PR.
Interestingly, the research also revealed a sharp contrast in the number of PR stories being used on different days of the week. Monday’s papers by far contained highest proportion of PR content – sitting at a sky-high average of 39%. On this particular day, over half of all the stories in The Daily Mail and The Daily Express had clear evidence of coming from a PR source.
*For the purposes of this research, ‘PR Content’ includes, but is not limited to surveys, reports, exclusive interviews, product launches, celebrity endorsements and financial releases