94% of Journalists Say Their Beat Shifted to Focus on Coronavirus
Muck Rack’s State of Journalism Highlights It’s Still “All COVID All The Time”
That headline probably isn’t a surprise, not during this pandemic-era where it felt everything in the news was tied to the coronavirus. Even now, a large percentage of news coverage in politics, sports, entertainment, and of course health, is tied in some way to COVID-19, getting vaccinated and returning to normal.
We knew it was “all COVID all the time,” but what we may have overlooked is just how pervasive the pandemic was and its overall affect journalists and their beats. Muck Rack’s 2021 State of Journalism sheds a bit of light on that, and overall, 94% of journalists said their reporting has shifted to focus on the coronavirus in some way.
That’s right – 94%, meaning only 6% of 2,400+ journalists that took part in the survey said the coronavirus did not “pivot” their news coverage.
That’s it. Just 6%. At some point though, we do have to “think that it’s not going to pivot anymore” since we’re on the road to recovery, and coverage on the coronavirus will diminish.
When though, that’s a good question because we’re not there yet. To break down the impact of COVID even further:
· 4% of journalists said all their coverage shifted to the coronavirus;
· 39% said most of their coverage now focuses on the pandemic;
· 51% of journalists said some of their coverage turned to COVID-19.
As COVID forced a shift in coverage, it also meant the pandemic affected other areas of a journalist’s work. For example, 18% of reporters said in general, there was less news to cover overall since companies postponed news announcements and releases.
Other areas of impact reporters noted:
- 65% said they wrote more stories about COVID-19 or health and wellness;
- 33% wrote more stories about teleworking and virtual communications;
- 23% said their workload increased due to layoffs and furloughs at their outlet; and
- 19% layoffs meant less work overall.
These impacts will likely be felt by journalists for a while yet, as Americans make their way to getting vaccinated (less than 40% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated).
For PR pros, this still means that your story pitches should still tie into COVID or getting vaccinations.
Otherwise, it might be an uphill battle getting your story placed.