SOURCE: Brodeur Partners

October 29, 2008 10:12 ET

Survey Identifies New Media's Influence on Energy & Environmental Reporting

Clean Tech Journalists Unconvinced of US Ability to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - October 29, 2008) - A recent survey of reporters covering energy, agriculture, and the environment suggests that journalists are skeptical about whether the United States can significantly decrease its dependence on fossil fuel.

Despite McCain and Obama's constant affirmations for an energy independent future, journalists appear to lack faith in our country's ability to follow through with clean energy solutions.

They are divided, however, on what renewable and sustainable fuel source is best suited to reduce this dependence. Reporters are equally split among four different approaches: biofuels, solar, wind, and natural gas.

According to the study, academic institutions and government bodies are the most trusted sources of information on cutting-edge clean energy technologies. Over 90% of journalists view these as credible news sources.

These are some of the highlights of a new survey of journalists covering energy, agriculture, and the environment by Brodeur Partners, a unit of Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), and Marketwire. The findings of this survey were presented at Brodeur's Clean Technology Practice event in Boston on October 28th. The survey is part of an ongoing research project by Brodeur in conjunction with Marketwire to dissect and understand the impact that social media and blogs are having on traditional news delivery.

The Brodeur study consisted of one online survey taken between September 16 and October 14, 2008. Email invitations were issued to a random sample of reporters in North America covering energy, agriculture, and environment. Approximately 2,500 email invitations were issued per "beat" with a total of 118 completed questionnaires.

"The results track with earlier surveys we have done," said Jerry Johnson, executive vice president of Strategic Planning at Brodeur Partners. "Like their colleagues, reporters covering new energy and the environment spend a considerable amount of time online, both in tracking favorite blogs as well as contributing to their own blog entries."

Brodeur's survey shows that this pool of beat journalists is fairly active in the blogosphere.

--  Approximately three-quarters (71%) of reporters have a list of blogs
    that they check on a regular basis.
--  Two out of every three (66.4%) reporters said they spend over an hour
    per day reading blogs.
--  Almost nine in ten (89.9%) reporters said they read blogs at least two
    to three times a week.
--  One in six (14.3%) reporters have their own blogs and nearly one in
    five (18.5%) has their own social networking page.
--  About half (46.2%) of reporters say they are "lurkers" -- reading
    blogs but rarely commenting.
    

Energy, agriculture and environmental reporters had compatible views about which sources of information are most credible.

--  Nearly all (95.8%) journalists said they believe academic institutions
    are credible sources of information. Almost two in three (62.2%) said they
    are very credible.
--  Nine out of ten (91.6%) reporters trust information from government
    bodies.
--  Lobbying organizations and special interest blogs are the least
    trusted sources of valid news, as over 70% of journalists said they were
    not credible.
    

There is a significant difference in familiarity with online news sites and blogs. Journalists have their favorites.

--  Of those listed, reporters are much more familiar with Treehugger and
    Grist. Nearly one in three (31.9%) reporters says they are familiar with
    Grist, while one in four (24.3%) reporters is familiar with Treehugger.
    

Overall, reporters were divided when asked to choose the best strategy for easing US dependence on fossil fuel within the next 10 years. There is no consensus around one renewable energy source. Of the approaches given, journalists were split among four: biofuels, solar, wind, natural gas.

--  Almost one out of every four (22.9%) journalists sees biofuels as the
    most promising energy solution. Solar power is supported by roughly the
    same number of reporters (21.2%).
--  One in six (16.1%) reporters says that natural gas is the most
    suitable energy strategy, while another 16.1% believes wind power has the
    most potential to ease US dependence on fossil fuel.
--  One in five (20.3%) reporters believes the best strategy was not one
    of the six listed.
--  Over three quarters of journalists are divided equally among biofuels,
    solar, wind, and natural gas.
    

The real question lies in whether or not these strategies will be implemented correctly to achieve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use.

--  Two out of three (63%) journalists are not confident that the US will
    significantly reduce its dependence on fossil fuels over the next ten
    years.
    

"These survey results are extremely timely, since energy is one of the key political and economic issues of our upcoming election," said Jessica Strange, executive director of media relations, Marketwire. "We've seen a growing number of companies issue news releases about alternative forms of energy, so knowing how journalists think is particularly valuable as our clients prepare their environmental messages."

A full copy of the survey findings is available by emailing Jerry Johnson at jjohnson@brodeur.com. For more information, go to www.brodeurcleantechmediasurvey.com.

About Brodeur Partners

Headquartered in Boston and owned by Omnicom Group, Inc. (NYSE: OMC), Brodeur Partners (www.brodeur.com) is a strategic communications group specializing in public relations, branding and communications. Founded in 1985, the company has 80 offices in 50 countries. It is differentiated by its ability to bring a discipline-agnostic approach to its consumer and business-to-business clients, including world-class minds within social media, public affairs, crisis, employee communications, ethnographic research, corporate social responsibility, multi-cultural marketing, higher education, clean technology, financial communications and healthcare. Brodeur Partners has two subsidiary organizations: Beaupre & Co. Public Relations in Portsmouth, N.H., (www.beaupre.com) and Rx Mosaic Health in New York City (www.rxmosaichealth.com).

Contact Information

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