Do Journalists Read Press Releases?

Using a random sampling from the Bacon’s database, Ben Silverman recently conducted a survey “to gather some quick insight into how journalists receive press releases, whether and where they read them, and how journalists view weblogs and online press rooms.” The results are pretty interesting. With all the incessant blog chatter about PR, press releases, etc. being dead, almost 75% of journalists read 50% or more of the releases they receive, and 76% of those surveyed find the information in releases helpful.

1. Of the press releases that you receive via email, what percentage do you actually open and read?
90% to 100% = 8%
80% to 89% = 13%
79% to 79% = 15%
60% to 69% = 16%
50% to 59% = 25%
Less than 50% = 26%

Comments: Remember, a good headline will get them to open the email. Relevant news will get them to continue reading the release. And, of course, never send a release as an attachment.

The other interesting part of the survey questions whether journalists are using blogs as a source for articles. The numbers are surprisingly low in this section, but then again, newspapers are often slow to report on stories that have been circulating around the blogosphere. Overall, Silverman’s survey provides an interesting glimpse into the current role of PR practitioners in journalism.

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