A recent media use survey finds that network TV and print are still the top news sources for the most affluent audiences, and that most read magazines in print rather than online.
Makes sense to me. I certainly don't fit the demographic, but this jibes -- to a certain extent -- with my own media preferences. I still get a lot of news from television, though not necessarily the broadcast networks; I watch a lot of cable news. Plus, I still prefer to read the hard copy version of magazines, particularly those that specialize in long-form journalism or have a strong visual appeal. I rarely read The New Yorker anymore because I dropped my print subscription some time ago.
I would also submit that I'm more likely to read higher quality publications in print than online. If I'm going to take the time to sit down with the print version, let alone pay money for it, I expect that it's going to be worth my while. After all, I can check out online news sources just about anytime, often with little or no cost.
This bias carries over into my work. Last summer, I got my employer a nice placement in the Chronicle of Higher Education online, but was disappointed to discover it didn't make the print edition.
What does all this mean for PR? For one, we can't write off traditional news sources, particularly if we are trying to reach a more affluent, educated audience. Two, even though media relations and public relations are not one in the same -- the former is a tool of the latter -- we can continue to expect that our efforts will be judged on our ability to secure choice media placements, no matter how many other strategic priorities we have to juggle.