Print Publications Take Backseat to Social Media During Pandemic

More than half of chambers either shifted their publications to entirely digital or halted the publication altogether during the early stages of the pandemic, according to the latest W.A.C.E. opinion poll.

With 239 chambers participating in the survey, 40% reported that they had a printed publication before the pandemic closures. The chambers most likely to have had a print publication before the pandemic were those with 500–999 members.

Among chambers with 1,000 or more members, 40% had a printed publication, while only 37% of chambers with 251–500 members and 22% of chambers with fewer than 250 members had a printed publication.

Among those chambers that had a printed publication, only 31% were continuing to print their publications as normal. Another 10% continued printing their publication but reduced the number of copies printed. Thirty percent stopped printing copies of their publication and sent it as an electronic-only version while 29% stopped the creation of their publication altogether.

Larger chambers were more likely to continue publishing their newsletters/magazines as normal. Half of chambers with more than 1,000 members published normally, as did 40% of chambers with 501–999 members.

Post-Pandemic Plans

Chambers were also asked what their plans were for the publication following the pandemic. The majority (54%) said they will continue or resume printing as normal.

Another 26% said they will continue their publication but reduce the number of printed copies and 20% will stop printing copies of their publication and go fully digital.

No chamber with fewer than 250 members said it would resume its publication as normal and 83% said they would be going completely digital.

On the other hand, 62% of chambers with 251–500 members and with 1,000 or more members were going to resume normal production. Fifty-four percent of chambers with 501–999 members were also going back to the pre-pandemic publication model.

Social Media

The opinion poll also points out that chambers have overwhelmingly increased their social media use in the last few months. Every chamber said it was using Facebook, but 84% have increased their use during the pandemic.

More than half of chambers also increased their use of Instagram. Among the other platforms, 45% of chambers increased their use of Facebook Live, 41% increased their use of Twitter, and 38% increased their use of YouTube.

Opening the Office

Asked about their plans to reopen their offices, 59% of chambers reported that they have returned to the office already; 20% said they planned to open during the month of June; and 4% said they were planning to return in August. Another 17% reported having no timeline to return to the office.

Most chambers also are open to members: 38% said they were open to members by appointment only, 36% said they were open to the public without appointments, and 26% said they were not allowing anyone other than staff in the office at this time.

A full survey recap can be found at in the Past Opinion Polls link on the members only page.