Last summer, Jade Artaud joined Napier for a two-week placement for experience at a marketing and PR agency.

Jade interviewed four people from different French magazine organizations on the topic of what journalist expect from agencies.

Jade asked them several questions, but we have selected the best questions and answers from two interviews which we think are the most relevant.


Alain Dieul, editor of Electronique Composants & Instrumentation magazine


What do you expect from agencies and clients? In which way, can they be helpful to you?

I expect to receive press releases, in DOC format, and it is imperative they contain images in JPEG.


How important is it to have content in French? Do you ever use content sent to you in English?

I don’t read press releases written in English. The process takes a lot of time, that I don’t have. Also, it is already complicated to read all the French press releases I receive.


How will social media change journalism and publications? How important is social media to your job today?

With two types of magazines to take care about, I don’t have time to deal with social media. Also, regarding the content of my journals, social media is not the right platform to target readers.


Didier Girault, journalist for ElectroniqueS magazine


Do companies need an office in France before you will cover them?

No, if the information provided is likely to be of interest to French readers. Obviously, news regarding the supply of a product in Germany, for instance, will not be relevant to our readers.


What has been the biggest change to business to business journalism in the past 3 years?

I think the main change is due to the introduction of Internet and mobile telephony. Since then, social media appeared, and every company created its own website, etc.

On the one hand, journalists spend more and more time selecting relevant news among several data still high, received through emails, newsletters and as a result, they have less time to look for information during investigations. On the other hand, using Internet allow journalists to rapidly find information they didn’t have access to before, leading to original cross referencing.

Today, there is an influx of information, which constitutes a general problem (affecting both journalists and readers). The fact of “following” news constantly, tend to blunt critical thinking and can lead to a return of fatality.


What do you think will be the biggest change in the next 3 years?

I think there will be less and less appeal towards the research of raw data, and at the same time, a strong demand for structured articles (files, summaries, reports…) that will be used for the training of engineers and technicians. In the end, this is the training that will become important.



François Gauthier, managing editor of L’Embarqué


What do you expect from agencies and clients? In which way, can they be helpful to you?

I expect classic things such as press releases and contacts. Agencies are useful to network with people in charge of businesses.


What has been the biggest change to business to business journalism in the past 3 years?

The biggest change has been the rise of digital publishing. It is becoming more and more popular.


How important do you think blogs will become? According to you, could they replace publications?

I don’t think blogs will replace publications.



What French journalists want from agencies (based on Internet research)


Following on from this Jade did some research on what French journalist want from agencies.

  • Relevant information: PR professionals should know what journalists are working on, what they are interested about and what the latest topics they dealt with are.
  • Quality rather than quantity: it is better for journalists to receive a few press releases related to their area of expertise rather than receiving a press release each time an agency writes one. If an agency sends too many irrelevant press releases, journalists will no longer take the time to read any of the content and further emails from the agency will be automatically deleted.
  • To gain time: journalists are asked to be highly productive, which is a source of stress. PR agencies need to reduce journalists’ workload as much as possible. Regarding press releases, for instance, it means sending two versions: one written in English and one in French to French journalists. Not only does it speed up journalists’ work but it also increases the chances of a rapid publication for the press release.
  • To make contacts: journalists expect that PR agencies will allow them to meet key figures such as the chief executive officer of a company. They want the appointment to be well-organised and schedule rapidly.


French journalists and social media


 According to a study conducted by CISION, most French journalist view social media as a useful tool for their job. Among the 290 French journalists who participated to this study, 91% use social media in their job. The most popular ones are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook comes first, as a way for journalists to publish and promote their articles. Then, they use Twitter to be aware of the latest news and buzz. Social media also allow journalists to evaluate the impact of their articles thanks to comments, likes and shares. In fact, social media can even become an indicator of what works and what doesn’t, leading 59% of French journalists to adapt their content accordingly.