Each year, the Reuters Institute releases a report exploring the state of the global media industry. The study can provide communication professionals with invaluable information about how people are consuming news.
This year's focus was on lowering levels of trust in the media, as well as finding new ways to finance news organisations and the continued move towards the consumption of news via mobile technology. What can we learn from the report?
Trust continues to decline – but differently for different channels
It's no secret that trust in the media has declined in the age of Trump. This is particularly the case for news received through social media; only a quarter of respondents to Reuters believe these channels do a good job of separating fact from fiction. The figure rises to 40 per cent for the traditional news media.
It's no secret that trust in the media has declined in the age of Trump.
In fact, while news organisations have long been struggling to find ways of financing their enterprises, the Trump era has increased subscriptions and donations given for news. Donations tripled in Australia in the past year, according to the report, while in the U.S., paid news subscriptions rose 7 per cent.
For communication professionals, this means that the traditional press release (long-proclaimed dead by many commentators) may not be on its way out just yet. Social media is cited as the reason why the press release is on the decline, however with trust so low in news received through this medium, there still remains a place for traditional media and the tasks that go with it .
The rise of messaging apps for news
The use of social media for news, which had been rising for years, is now beginning to flatten out. In Australia, the number of people who had used the medium as a source in the week prior to the survey stood at 46 per cent, a drop of 6 percentage points on the previous year.
The number of people using social media for news is beginning to flatten out.
Instead, people may be turning to private messaging applications for current affairs. Around a quarter of respondents now find, share or discuss news using one or more messaging applications. WhatsApp was the most popular, followed by Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.
Communication professionals should ensure that any PR strategies take the rise of mobile applications into account by creating content that works across platforms and making sure press releases are also picked up on mobile news sites.
The media is changing, and it's important communication professionals stay abreast of these trends. For more industry updates, visit our Insights page.