There is constant debate throughout the industry regarding the future of press releases. Will social media eventually make traditional media unnecessary? Will fact-filled, well-constructed, informative releases be replaced by 140-character tweets?

According to a new study, communications professionals can rest easy. Out of 300 seasoned journalists surveyed by BusinessWire, approximately 70 percent said their job would be more difficult without access to the thousands of press releases distributed over the wire every day. When asked about the most frequently used resources for editorial research, 77 percent rely on a company’s online newsroom for information and, once there, 88 percent prefer to access media releases for additional fact finding. Approximately 90 percent of survey participants referenced a media release in an article within the last week and more than 60 percent referenced one in the last 24 hours, proving they do depend on media releases for valuable content.

So, what did this diverse mix of editors, freelance journalists, news directors, columnists, bloggers and reporters find to be the most interesting information in a media release? It’s not surprising breaking news was the leader at 77 percent, followed by supporting facts (70%), interesting story angles (66%) quotable sources (52%) and company background (50%), trending industry topics (49%) and supporting multimedia (29%). And, speaking of multimedia, it’s interesting that more than half of the respondents are more likely to review a press release that contains multimedia, but when asked what kind they favor, photographs were by far the most popular at 73 percent. Other options like graphics and videos were far less preferred.

Press releases continue to be a highly valued, relevant way to deliver news to reporters. And, with media releases written to optimize online audiences, they can also be easily found by millions of web users who can tweet, re-tweet, post and blog about your news. Long live the press release! I hope you are here to stay…at least for many more years.