Quick Study: ‘Health-Info-entials’ Wield Power; One in Four Firms Planning Layoffs; Media Pros Want Online News Access

*Consumers Want More Health Engagement: A study just released by Edelman shows that people want more active, trusted and personal health interaction with companies, organizations and brands. Consumers want companies to help address their specific personal health concerns and help them maintain their health through prevention and care. They also must provide people with thorough, transparent and specific information; engage them through personal and health-expert channels, online and off; and address personal issues like health and well-being before larger societal concerns. The study also found that one-fifth of people comprises a highly influential group--the "Health Info-entials." Health Info-entials are involved, informed and engaged in health. Health Info-entials have more stakes in health than the general population: They are more likely to work in a health-related field (26% vs. 18%); Suffer from a severe or chronic health condition (41 % vs. 34% ); Be a caregiver (17% vs. 11%); and; Take prescription medications (47% vs. 41% ).   Health Info-entials span all ages and walks of life. The Health Info-entials also are more trusting of companies and organizations involved in health (69% vs. 58%) and more likely to listen to and take positive actions on behalf of a company or organization in health than the general population (81% vs. 63%). Source: Edelman *Domestic Downsizing to Escalate: As the impact of the global economic crisis takes hold, a quarter of U.S. employers expect to have layoffs in the next 12 months. However, most companies are focusing on increased employee communication and smaller cost-saving measures, according to a survey of 248 companies by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm. Among the study's findings: More than one-third are planning to increase their communication around pay (37%) and benefits (35%); Roughly one of four is planning layoffs (26%), hiring freezes (25%) or raising employee contributions to healthcare plans (25%); Three out of 10 employers (28%) have reduced their merit pay budgets in the wake of recent financial developments; and Of those employers that reduced their budgets, the projected raise is now 2.5% for 2009, down from 3.7%.   Source: Watson Wyatt *24/7 News Access Key For Media Pros: Public relations practitioners who want insights regarding journalists' use of online newsrooms, blogs, RSS feeds and social media now have research to guide their media relations practices. The second annual study conducted by Bulldog Reporter and TEKgroup International Inc., indicates that journalists' usage of these technologies continues to be more extensive than believed by PR professionals. Those findings again reveal that the greatest change in journalism practices due to new Internet technology is the ability to access corporate news and contact information online 24 hours a day. Nearly half of all journalists report visiting a corporate Web site or online newsroom at least once a week, while almost 87% visit at least once a month. Other notable findings: While approximately 25% of journalists do not cover blogs, more than 29% report regularly reading five or more blogs to research desired topics, compared with only about 26% a year ago. Nearly 75% follow at least one blog regularly, compared with only about 70% a year ago; More than three-fourths of journalists use social media to research stories, compared with about 67% last year;     Nearly 19% of journalists receive five or more RSS feeds of news services, blogs, podcasts or videocasts every week, compared with only 16% a year ago, and about 44% receive at least one regular RSS feed; and   A large majority (76.4%) of journalists report that they use local newspapers to follow news, while nearly 63% check the New York Times, 51% run through Google News, and about 32% employ Yahoo News to stay abreast of events.   The survey results reflect practices of 2,386 respondents, of which approximately 48% were editors or editorial staff and 34% were reporters or writers. Source: Bulldog Reporter and TEKgroup International Inc.

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