Marketing Report
Nearly 60 percent of newsrooms have no AI use case policy, survey

Nearly 60 percent of newsrooms have no AI use case policy, survey

AI is moving fast but journalists are split on using it. Twenty-eight percent cited using AI in their workflow and 20% plan to explore it, according to new survey results from Muck Rack, the company that enables organizations to build trust, tell their stories and demonstrate the unique value of earned media through its public relations management platform.

Muck Rack’s seventh annual State of Journalism report, which surveyed 1,106 journalists on the current state of the industry, also found that those who are using or plan to use AI, are doing so for brainstorming (52%), research (51%) and drafting headlines (34%). However, nearly 60% reported that their newsroom has no AI use case policy.

Journalism continues to face challenges, with about one-third of journalists expressing concerns about lacking funding and trust in journalism, consistent with last year’s findings. More than one-third reported layoffs or buyouts at their organizations last year and 30% reported turning to LinkedIn for job opportunities when layoffs hit.

Gregory Galant, cofounder and CEO, Muck Rack: “It’s a difficult time for many journalists with layoffs and buyouts happening far too often, and our research found a gap between workload and compensation, with most journalists working overtime and wages stagnating. Using AI for tasks like research and brainstorming may help offset shrinking newsrooms, but more support and funding are needed to ensure a free and independent press endures.”

Work Hours and Compensation

Over half of journalists surveyed (64%) report working more than 40 hours a week, with 79% working after hours at least once a week and 34% working after hours most days. Yet, only 46% earn more than $70k annually, which could indicate a gap between workload and compensation.

Journalists have differing, but heavy workloads. Nearly a quarter of journalists produce 11 or more stories per week, and a similar number produce 5-7 weekly.

Social Media

Social media continues to be an important tool, with more than half of journalists saying it is either important or very important to producing their stories and even more (70%) saying it is also important for promoting their work.

X (Twitter) is still the dominant social platform, with 36% of journalists reporting that it is still the most valuable platform to their work, and only 19% reporting deleting, suspending or stopping their X account in the last year. While one in five claimed to have moved away from the platform this year, about one-third say they are looking for an alternative but aren’t sure where to go.

PR and Journalist Relationship

Despite 46% of journalists receiving six or more pitches daily, 49% seldom or never respond, mainly due to relevance issues. Still, 70% acknowledge that PR professionals are at least moderately important to their success.

As indicated by the survey, preferred pitches are sent via 1:1 email before noon and 200 words or less. One follow-up is ideal and should come within 3-7 days. More than half don’t care which day they are pitched but 44% prefer to receive pitches before noon.

The self-administered survey collected 1,106 responses from January 3 to February 9, 2024. Most respondents came from U.S.-based journalists, and Asia, Africa, and Europe were also represented.

Muck Rack distributed the survey with the help of nine research partners, including the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Press Institute.

The full report can be accessed here