Business leaders view the proliferation of media covering their activities as a positive trend, but they continue to favor print media over their electronic counterparts, largely out of a distrust of “soundbite journalism.”
Those are some of the key findings of a survey of the Fortune 500 by Wixted Pope Nora & Associates, a strategic communications firm in Chicago. The firm found that 75 percent of respondents welcomed the increased volume of business coverage, but that 68 percent would rather be interviewed by a newspaper reporter, compared to 8 percent who would prefer a television interview.
“Business continues to dislike soundbite journalism,” observed Clarke Caywood, chairman of the integrated marketing communications department at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, who reviewed the survey results. “Their hesitancy is based on what companies perceive as a bad return on investment when it comes to electronic media. A senior executive may spend an hour preparing for a radio interview and end up with a 15-second soundbite.”
Caywood said that companies need to adapt, and executives should be adept at using all channels of communications.
Respondents also cited frustration with what they believe to be a lack of industry specific knowledge by journalists. In the words of one VP of communications, “The most dangerous thing is a journalist who doesn’t understand the dynamics of the industry they cover. Superficial knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge.”