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PR trends, media trendsMost public relations and marketing professionals have read about the increase in mobile internet access, social media news consumption and fake news.

Recent Pew Research Center reports provide a deeper look into today’s changing digital media landscape. Here’s an overview of some key trends and how they impact PR and marketing.

TV News Remains Popular

More Americans obtain their news from television than online media, but the gap is narrowing. As of August 2017, 43% of Americans surveyed said they often obtain their news online. That’s just 7 percentage points lower than the 50% who often get news on television. In 2016, the gap between the two news platforms was 19 points, more than twice as large.

The takeaway: TV news remains crucial for news placements, even though online news consumption may soon equal and eventually surpass TV news consumption. However, TV news probably won’t disappear any time soon. Corporations, government agencies and large nonprofit organizations need to consider TV when they create PR pitching and placement strategies. They also need to include TV news in their media monitoring and measurement.

Older Americans Embrace Mobile Devices

Older Americans obtain their news on social media. Roughly two-thirds (67%) of those ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device, a 24-percentage-point jump from 2016 and about three times the share in 2013. Mobile news use also grew among those 50 to 64, with about eight-in-ten (79%) now getting news on mobile, about double the share from 2013.

The takeaway: Even brands serving older Americans will lose customers and fall behind competitors if they don’t embrace mobile marketing strategies and measurement practices designed for mobile devices. Effective mobile measurement calls for a new mindset, as desktop metrics may produce misleading results.

Older Americans Turn to Social Media for News

Two-thirds of Americans obtain at least some news on social media, up from 62% in 2016. Older Americans are driving that growth. More than half (55%) of Americans ages 50 and older obtain news on social media sites, a 10-percentage-point jump from 2016.

The takeaway: Social media news consumption is no longer confined to digitally sophisticated millennials. It’s now essential for corporate PR and marketing to promote and monitor news on social media, including brands that target older American.

Trust in Social Media Falters

Fake news has damaged the public’s trust in social media. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events. About a third say they often see made-up political news online.

Only 5% of web-using U.S. adults have a lot of trust in the information they view on social media. They trust information on social media much less than from national and local news organizations and information from friends and family.

The takeaway: PR can spot fake news through ongoing social media listening. Once fake news is spotted, PR can quickly expose the articles as fabrications and spread the facts about the issue. As news announcements increasingly become suspect, PR may need to take extra steps to support the authenticity and truthfulness of their news releases and other promotions.

Bottom Line: It’s essential for PR pros to stay abreast of fast-moving trends transforming the digital media landscape and incorporate the changes into their PR strategies and methods. Since news consumption through mobile devices and social media may be increasing even faster that thought and spreading to new demographics, PR must assure its news is distributed to mobile devices and on social media.

William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.