Survey: Financial journalists see cybersecurity as No. 1 topic for 2019

Despite growing public distrust of social media, newshounds see online platforms as key sources of story ideas. You might think twice, though, about pitching them via Twitter or Facebook.

It’s a challenging time for PR pros and journalists alike. Improved understanding on both sides can be mutually rewarding.

To that end, Muck Rack polled financial journalists to get their insights on how the media landscape is changing—and to cull a forecast of 2019.

Here are highlights of the 2019 Financial Services Journalist Survey:

  • Fifty percent of finance journalists expect to spend less time on Facebook.
  • The top three topics in 2019 will be cybersecurity (57.5 percent), fintech (41.6 percent), and tax reform (35.8 percent).
  • Nearly 58 percent of journalists consult a company’s social media channels when reporting on it.

Now, let’s dig further into the findings.

Industry and social media trends

Survey responses suggest cybersecurity, fintech and tax reform are among the most important topics that will see coverage in 2019.

Consistent with past survey results, journalists say online newspapers and magazines are their primary news source (60 percent), followed by Twitter (25 percent).

Additionally, 39 percent expect to spend more time on Twitter in 2019, and 50 percent expect to spend less time on Facebook.

We consume and distribute news primarily on social media: Three-quarters of journalists say social media is a valuable source for finding emerging stories. Also, 58 percent of journalists consult a company’s social media channels when reporting on it.

Outlook on the financial sector

With recent changes in legislation, potential reforms and fluctuations in the stock market, the financial industry must contend with many external forces.

Despite the rollercoaster in the market last year, half of the journalists surveyed say the current business environment for the financial industry is more positive than it was a year ago.

Some 38 percent say the business environment will become more positive this year; only 29 percent say it will grow more negative. Notably, industry-specific journalists are generally more positive about the business environment they’re covering.

Media relations

Sixty percent of journalists say they reject pitches because of a lack of personalization; 56 percent of journalists don’t like receiving pitches via social media.

Here are five key takeaways for PR and marketing pros:

  1. Build a social media presence for your client or your company.
  2. Implement a social media strategy to maximize opportunities and mitigate potential crises.
  3. Personalize your media pitches.
  4. Attend finance industry conferences to keep up with news and trending topics.
  5. Keep track of what journalists are saying on social media and which articles they’re sharing there.

It’s crucial, of course, to fact-check when curating content from social media channels.

Here are a few more takeaways:

  • Academic subject matter experts (92 percent), industry CEOs and executives (89 percent) and company PR professionals (52.5 percent) are among the most credible sources for their reporting.
  • Eighty-five percent of journalists believe the most trusted sources in the financial industry today are print newspapers and online newspapers (83 percent).
  • Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of journalists find it important to attend finance industry conferences to keep up with news and trending topics.
  • More than 40 percent of journalists think the way most companies share information is outdated.
  • Three in four journalists track how many times their story has been shared on social media.
  • Four out of five say that when reporting on the financial sector, they prefer traditional numerical and fact-based disclosures.
  • Half say that when researching a company they’re reporting on, they would like to see more visual ways of sharing information (images, video, infographics).

Gregory Galant is a co-founder and the CEO of Muck Rack, a digital PR and journalism platform. A version of this article originally appeared on the Spin Sucks blog.

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