NEW YORK — Griping about press releases may be part of the job, but journalists nonetheless are most likely to cover business stories when the news comes directly from a company versus third party sources, according to a new study from Ogilvy.

The 2019 Global Media Influence Survey, released last week at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, found that the influence corporate announcements wield in shaping earned media and corporate reputation far outweigh that of other sources, like social media and influencers.

However, when journalists do tap social media to round out their reporting, they are most likely to use Twitter. 48% of journalists who participated in the survey said they use Twitter in their research more than any other social platform; Just 29% favor Facebook or Instagram.

Asia-Pacific journalists were the only regional group whose preferences differed from that finding. The survey found 41% of APAC respondents favor Facebook and Instagram. 34% of that group rank WhatsApp first, while just 20% favor Twitter.

Participants in the sixth annual survey included 311 journalists in North America, EMEA, APAC and Latin America.

“We continually see brands looking for ways to break through in a media landscape that is constantly in motion and increasingly noisy, but once again we see that earned media is at the core of establishing longstanding, trusted reputation,” said Ogilvy’s global comms head Tara Mullins, who is also senior VP of the firm’s media influence offering.

The survey also found journalists use earlier news stories in their reporting (a reminder, Ogilvy said, of the longevity of coverage, both positive and negative, and the lasting impact of earned media strategies).

46% of respondents believe a balanced combination of earned, owned and paid media is necessary to successfully manage corporate reputation and influence their coverage. Only 10% of the journalists surveyed consider social media influencers alone as the most impactful contributor to brand reputation. 

The survey also found that that 71% of Latin American journalists say government policy and regulations influences news coverage, but rank social media last among the list of contributing factors.

Whether journalists believe they have influence, too, depends on whom you ask. 61% of North American respondents believe their work has “some” impact on shaping companies’ reputations. A majority of journalists in APAC (53%) EMEA (61%) and Latin America (79%), however, all say they have “a lot” of influence.