Trends in UK journalism: How is the media covering industrial action in transport?
In the last few months, the news headlines have been dominated by the ongoing strikes across different sectors. Nurses, train drivers and Post Office workers have been among those calling for wage increases to match the rises in inflation.
One of the sectors calling for industrial action that has probably impacted the most people is the transport industry. Regular train strike days have affected commuters, airport and passport office strikes have altered holidaymakers plans, while bus and taxi drivers have also taken action.
We decided to take a look at what newspapers and broadcasters have been requesting and researching on this topic via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service, alongside other subjects trending in the media.
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There are 25 categories in total on the Journalist Enquiry Service but we’re honing in on four that are most relevant to the transport industry: Transport & Logistics, Motoring, Travel and Public Sector, and Third Sector & Legal.
If we look at all four categories over the last six months, 61% of the journalists sending requests are staff while 21% are freelance journalists. There is then quite an even spread for the media types they are coming from. Trade/business/professional media just comes out on top with 30% of the total requests, with consumer media just behind on 29% and national newspaper/current affairs on 23%. Journalists sending requests in these categories have mainly been looking for information for an article (36%), with enquiries for a spokesperson or expert next on 28%, review products on 12% and personal case studies on 10%.
This gives us an overall picture, but we can delve further into each category and see what media types and publications are sending requests. Firstly, we will look at the Transport & Logistics category. 47% of requests in this category came from trade/business/professional media titles. These included the likes of Logistics Manager, Industrial News and BizClik.
There was also a request from Future Rail magazine looking for the ‘rail industry trends for 2023’. The majority of the journalists sending requests in this category were also looking for information for an article (48%) with 30% asking for a spokesperson or expert. This provides ample opportunity for PRs to get experts and information featured within the trade media.
National press journalists are the next biggest users of this category with 23% sending an enquiry. Newspapers like The Daily Telegraph and The Times used the service. The nature of the requests varied quite widely with an I paper journalist looking for information on how to handle travel disruption, a Daily Star reporter looking to speak to a female pilot in the airline industry and a MailOnline writer asking for case studies around the ULEZ expansion.
This gives lots of opportunities to get clients featured in national press across a variety of different angles. There is also a fair amount of broadcast media journalists sending requests in this category with 12% coming from the radio & television media type. This has included the likes of ITV News, 5 News and GB News. Mainly, they have been focused on covering the strikes, either looking for locations to film at or case studies of commuters/people affected by the industrial action.
The Motoring category differs from Transport & Logistics, with national press journalists being the biggest users (42%) here over the last six months. This has included titles such as The Sun Online, The Independent and Metro. Requests have not focused specifically on the industrial action, but instead looking for an expert on petrol stations (for The Mirror Online) and case studies of slashing car insurance by buying a dash cam (for The Sun).
Consumer media is the second biggest media type within the motoring category, on 26%, with titles like Parkers sending requests, followed by trade media on 13%, with outlets such as Automotive World and Car Mechanics.
One of the keywords that comes up within the motoring category over the last six months is ‘EV’ or electric vehicle. This has occurred in over 4% of requests within this category. EV Magazine, Saga Exceptional, Verdict and ITV News have been among those looking for information and expert comment within this area. Any clients with expertise in this field could therefore be featured in consumer, trade or broadcast news.
The Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal category is not specifically aimed at the transport industry but a lot of requests around topical issues such as the strikes mean that journalists will select this category to get different viewpoints.
It’s mainly been used by trade titles over the last six months, with 53% of all requests coming from this media type. This has often been focused on the sustainability angle with ‘sustainable’ as a keyword appearing in 4% of all enquiries across all four categories we’ve focused on. Open Access Government, for example, was looking at sustainable development in the UK transport sector and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
National press journalists are second in this category with 21% of all requests coming from them. The Daily Express, PA Media and Reuters all sent enquiries in the last six months. The vast majority were looking for a spokesperson or expert, which was the most popular enquiry type on 48%, followed by information for an article on 36%.
The Travel category is usually more consumer-facing and therefore it’s little surprise to see consumer media as the biggest user on 45%. Titles like GoodtoKnow and Pick Me Up! have sent enquiries around industrial action and strikes, but generally these enquiries are geared more towards holidays and tourism.
Overall, the keyword we saw most frequently across all four categories was ‘import’ which appeared in over 4% of the total requests.
‘Environment’ cropped up in 3% with ‘customers’ back on 2.5% and ‘strike’ at just over 1%. ‘Road’, ‘train’ and ‘rail’ all finished at around 1% with ‘airport’ and ‘aviation’ in about 0.5% of all the enquiries.
Depending on what you or your client has to offer, there are opportunities to get featured across all of the various media types. Experts on the transport sector and sustainability and information and case studies around the strikes and imports and exports are just some of the areas that you can look to target.
For more on how the UK media are reporting industrial strikes action in the travel sector, read our Vuelio Insights report ‘On the right track – which train companies are derailing negative press?‘.
Want to start receiving requests from UK journalists with detailed information on what they want from PRs? Check out how to make the most of the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service.
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