What Are We Reading?

March 14, 2016

PR folks are news hounds. We live and breathe trending stories, industry influencers, and all of us have our favorite publications or journalists (“friendlies” in media jargon) that we work with on a regular basis. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to PR as an occupation, and I’m sure is true for many others here at BPR and across the industry.

But what about when we aren’t combing the news for our clients? What do we read in our spare time? What do we read to be entertained, enlightened, or engaged in a new school of thought? Over the past week, I’ve posed this question to 30 people in our office. Now there’s a reason why I’m in PR and not in data collection, so I will spare you all the percentages, breakdowns, and other statistical analysis (which probably wouldn’t come out right anyway), and cut to the chase with some high level takeaways.

Our Clients Love Top Tier Business Publications – And Boy We Do Too

NYTNew York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NBC. Oh baby do we love the business publications. It’s no secret these outlets bring in some of the highest readership numbers in the business, and while we target them for all kinds of stories for our clients, it turns out we are visiting them in our spare time as well – and for all sorts of reasons. These pubs drive huge traffic in part because of their diversity, and respondents mentioned visiting these sites for political, international, and pop-culture news, indicating not everyone is seeking the same type of news. CNN, The Guardian, and Huffington Post rounded out some of the other names in this category.

News Aggregates – The Lazy Efficient Way to Sift Through News

TwitterNews aggregate services are a highly effective way to scour a wide array of publications at once. We use them for work on a daily basis, and you can bet they are also a staple in our personal lives. Twitter, unsurprisingly, rises to the top in this category. Flipboard, Feedly, and Google News round out the players this category. In contrast to observation #1, we see a story that catches our eye and follow it, rather than visiting a specific publication and then seek out an article.

Buzzfeed Dominates The Millennial Market

BuzzfeedThere is a swath of publications rising through the ranks that specifically target the millennial reader base. As PR pro Sam Whitmore pointed out his Feb. 29 “Notes from the Field”, these outlets serve as high-tier journalist breeding grounds and manage to churn out a significant stream of media everyday.

With that said, Buzzfeed is King.

Elite Daily is a not-so-close second, with the likes of Mic and Mashable only visited by a handful of employees. The millennial part held true in this unofficial company survey, as nearly all respondents who cited Buzzfeed were on the younger side of the age spectrum. It’s also important to note that Buzzfeed was often mentioned in tandem with strict news outlets like NYT or NBC, indicating the site’s entertainment value likely trumps its quality of news and that same person visits other sites for their true dose of news.

Company Leadership has a…diverse…set of outlets

The three VPs at BPR, our fearless leaders, have quite a hefty workload on their plate, and the only thing I can think of is that recreational news-reading at home provides a much needed outlet. They were the only respondents to cite People Magazine, Esquire, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health Magazine (Author’s Note: all three VPs are women) and the Journal oPeoplef Psychology. I’ll let Jo in Denver off easy – she dips into Huffington Post and Real Simple – but it just goes to show we read just about everything here at BPR.

Notable Absences

Sometimes the most important data point is the one that’s missing. In this last section, I’m going to quickly address some personally surprising things in this survey.

  • Local news: Only a few of our survey participants reported being actively engaged in local publications. Puget Sound Business Journal, The Denver Post, and a local news channel were the only mentions in the responses.
  • Themed Magazines: Besides the VPs, very few people reported reading magazines. One fashion and two outdoor recreation readers was all she wrote. RIP print?

 

We are a pretty diverse group of people at BPR, and that’s reflected in how we choose to consume media in our own time. But one way or another, nearly all of us are in love with the news.

Until the next straw poll,

-Grady

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