Charities are more likely to get coverage in national newspapers by targeting the trade press first.
This is one of the key findings of the first analysis commissioned by the ImpACT coalition, which was set up to improve public trust in the sector.
The research, which was carried out by the media monitoring agency Metrica, shows that the most coverage of generic charity issues appears in the trade press, The Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times and The Independent.
It also shows that, from January to June this year, 14 per cent of coverage in the national press was classed as "strongly unfavourable," compared with 9 per cent of coverage that appeared in the trade press.
"The Metrica findings emphasise the importance of communicating well with charity trade magazines, rather than going straight to the national and regional press with charity news," said Alan Gosschalk, chair of the ImpACT Coalition.
"More and more stories that are broken in the trade press are then being taken forward in national newspapers.
"It is essential that charity press officers recognise this trend and respond to the opportunities it presents."
Of the negative coverage, just over 16 per cent focused on fundraising, administrative and running costs of charities. A further 11 per cent related to the impact of advertising and PR, and 9 per cent was about fundraising methods.