Journalists prefer Twitter over Facebook, yet Indian consumers discovering news on Facebook says Muck Rack's Greg Galant at the recently concluded PRAXIS conference

Improving the working relationship between journalists and PR professionals is always under intense discussion. In order to throw light on how journalists prefer to be pitched and how Indian consumers access news, Greg Galant CEO & co-founder, Muck Rack and Shorty Awards spoke at the recently concluded #PRAXIS8 conference in Goa.

The theme of his presentation? How to build trust between journalists and PR professionals. Using data from the Reuters Institute India Digital News Report 2019 as well as the Muck Rack State of Journalism report 2019, Galant highlighted key trends in news consumer behaviour in India and insights into how to maximise your pitches to journalists. 

Indian news consumers: Facebook rules for news discovery 

Most English language internet users in India say that Facebook is their top source of news as compared to Twitter. Facebook and WhatsApp are the top sites for social media and messaging for news in India:

Indian Consumers prefer Facebook and WhatsApp for news

When it comes to deciding which story to engage with and view, the headline or picture is the biggest draw. 63% of respondents for the Reuters Institute Digital News Report said the headline or picture guides their decision on clicking on a story. The report, Galant shared, further revealed that online news engagement among the respondents is primarily driven by sharing. 54% of respondents said they posted or shared a news story using Facebook, whereas for WhatsApp the percentage was 46%.

Newspapers in India have bigger offline than online reach

Analysing the Reuters report further, Galent shared that English-language Indian newspapers have wider offline reach than online reach. The Reuters report states that " A number of major English-language Indian newspapers have wider offline reach than online reach – a very different scenario from most other markets covered in the Digital News Report research, where newspapers tend to have far smaller offline reach than online reach."

The report further adds that "As Indian internet users increasingly turn to online sources of news, they often opt for the digital offerings of legacy brands. NDTV (56% offline, 47% online) and The Times of India (46% offline, 40% online) are far more widely used among our respondents than any other brands. The strong preference for just a couple of news organisations has similarities with Brazil – where Rede Globo’s television and digital offerings have very high reach – and is very different from a market like the United States, where no brands have comparable reach.

Overview of journalist preferences and behaviours

Greg Galent also presented an overview at #PRAXIS 2019 about how journalists themselves consume news. According to Muck Rack’s 'State of Journalism Report 2019', 83% of respondents cited Twitter as the most valuable social network for them. Respondents also gave a thumbs down to using Facebook in the coming year:

This is an interesting finding as, according to Reuters, Indian consumers prefer Facebook as their top source of news over Twitter. 

Actionable tips for building better relationships with journalists

The MuckRack co-founder also shared insights, based on their research about how to build ties with journalists. Among the top suggestions were sharing journalist stories online. Galent pointed out that journalists and consumers both track how much a story is shared and the engagement on the piece.  

Galent also suggested keeping the pitch short-no more than 2 to 3 paragraphs to enable a better strike rate and researching the journalist beforehand.

Galent also recommended that the best time to call a journalist is between 9 and 11 AM. This is a US-centric suggestion, it may not apply to India. In India, journalists tend to prefer the afternoon for calls. 

A final key suggestion made by Galent is that one to one emails work best for pitching journalists:

The MuckRack co-founder Greg Galant's presentation at #PRAXIS8 offered valuable insights about the journalist-PR ties to the 700 plus strong audience of PR professionals from all over the country.