07 April 2008

Reporters Filling “Online News Holes”

Print journalists are increasingly expanding their skill-sets to provide online content, finds a new survey.

Research shows that some 39% of newspaper reporters are now expected to produce work for their employers’ websites.

The first ever PR Week/PR Newswire Media Survey reveals how the evolving media landscape means journalists are adapting to different ways of working.

“Many journalists are having to expand their skill set and add ‘blogger’ to their resumes,” reports PR Week.

“Moreover, reporters at newspapers across the country are finding that they have to fill an online news hole, as well as the traditional ink-stained pages.”

PR Week illustrates this point by looking at the career of Scott Hensley, a health reporter on the Wall Street Journal.

Hensley used to concentrate solely on in-depth articles for the print issue, but now edits the Journal’s health blog.

He says: “The thing that has changed my life the most is blogging. I start at 7am every day, and it’s a rare day when I’m out of [the office] before 5pm.

“We’re a news-driven blog. We post eight to 10 times a day. We try to have three up by 9am; a half-dozen by noon.

“When I was writing for print, I wasn’t even thinking about what a possible story would be most days by 10am.”

And the survey finds blogs are not just being used by reporters to distribute news, they are also growing in importance as a source.

Some 73% of respondents in the poll say they sometimes or always make use of blogs for research purposes, and the most popular reason for doing so is to “measure sentiment”.

More than 1,200 print, web and broadcast journalists took part in the survey, which can be found here.

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