We work with the media every day, selling in news stories based on our consumer research, and once the pandemic started noticed a big shift in what journalists wanted content-wise.

Some stories (hard-hitting, negative ones) became much harder to land – while bright, fun and upbeat research made much more of a splash.

We also noticed that many of our media contacts seemed to be under more pressure than ever before – understandably given the job cuts since March 2020.

We wanted to take a deeper look at how the pandemic affected the work lives of UK journalists – so we ran a survey to find out more.

In May 2021 we polled 150 UK journalists from up and down the country, via our research division Perspectus Global.

The results were shocking and the research was covered by PR Week that month.

Almost half (47 percent) of those polled claimed that they are under more pressure than ever because of job cuts and publication closures due to the pandemic – meaning those who were lucky enough to have kept their jobs are now stretched extremely thin and working very hard.

While 31 percent admitted they are sourcing more stories than ever before from social media because of lack of staff, and 38 percent claim they are under ever more pressure to hit internal audience and engagement targets.

Overall, four in 10 of the journalists we surveyed said they’d found the last year ‘extremely’ challenging on the job front, due to drained resources.

As a consequence, more than HALF (54 percent) said their workloads have never been bigger.

When it comes to the content that journalists are looking for, we discovered:

41 percent said the domination of news on the pandemic had led to virus fatigue from consumers. So no unnecessary covid-stories please.

48 percent said content that puts a smile on someone’s face is perfect – and that those ‘and finally’ stories are very desirable at the moment.

The good news for PR practitioners is that 50 percent of respondents said PR sourced content had become more useful during the pandemic, compared to 26 percent who said it had become less useful.

So let’s give the UK media what they want: editorially sound, bright and relevant content to help them navigate the current choppy waters.

If you’d like to talk to us about how to use consumer research to create such content for your brand or organisation, give us a shout: unleash@gingercomms.com