UK media research finds online media is a boon for PR :-)

Now I’m the first person to point out that the great thing about most research is that anyone can bend the findings to support their own opinions. 

So indulge me here.

Some of my biggest issues with the prevalent Web 2.0/Smeedia thinking are:

  • The belief that the demise of traditional media is a good thing for society – and that the media’s demise is a “fact” (it’s not)
  • The acceptance of content that’s “good enough” rather than researched, reviewed and objective
  • The online, self-styled, Web 2.0 experts, who have never practiced Public Relations in their life, but feel they are qualified to provide in-depth analysis on the impact of new online media and tools on our profession. (I’ll post more on that particular topic at a later date.)

The idea that sites like Wikipedia are a great thing – regardless of how accurate the content is – because loads of people collaborate, is flawed. I don’t like it as a citizen, as a parent, as a consumer, or as a PR practitioner. We must fight for standards ladies and gentlemen.

A report from UK media research firm Metrica [Flash alert], which included 3,000,000 articles from 700 UK media organisations over the past decade has some interesting findings.

It found that online coverage was far more likely to deliver “high message delivery” and a company spokesperson than traditional media:

Haste and paste: High message delivery and spokespeople mentions suggest the emergence of a copy and paste publishing trend in online media. Online featured the strongest message delivery of any media type with half of coverage delivering key messages, and an average of three message deliveries per article.There is also some indication of a similar trend amongst regional titles.

Now obviously as a PR guy that’s what the client is looking for. But as a citizen you want to ensure there is a strong media providing consumers with a balanced news agenda – after all if you’re getting fluffy coverage, so is your competitor.

  • According to the research for 2007, not surprisingly, the UK daily and Sunday newspapers are the least favourable outlets, while regional TV, print and radio are the most favourable.
  • The most favoured sectors are charities, trade bodies, media and leisure, and entertainment.
  • The least favoured sectors are finance, government & public sector, retail, fashion, health & beauty and transport.

I accept that no research is perfect, but it presents an interesting view and perhaps presents a case why the survival of traditional media (whether in print or online) is important to society and business.

Read more at the Metrica blog.



Stuart Bruce has pointed to a site I’d never seen before, the Churner Prize 🙂