According to a new survey from Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), as reported in PRWeek, 70 percent of journalists said they use social networks to assist in reporting (compared to 41 percent last year). This is a huge spike in one year, though it shouldn’t surprise any of us with all the lists of journalists using Twitter and other social networks.
The survey also found that 69 percent of respondents go to company websites to assist in their reporting, while 66 percent use blogs, 51 percent use Wikipedia (wow), 48 percent go to online videos (double wow), and 47 percent use Twitter and other microblogging services (would have guessed higher on this one).
A big part of this shift has to revolve around journalists having less help to do their jobs while being required to produce more content across various formats in near real-time. Journalists have no choice but to use these tools to find sources fast – and in some instances – crowdsource suggestions, tips, and interviews.
Social media is helping journalists do their jobs more effectively and efficiently, just as it helps citizen journalists and the general public find information faster than they could in traditional media. Social media is a much faster path to answers than traditional online or offline methods. In the Middleberg survey, 92 percent of journalists strongly or somewhat agreed that social media is enhancing journalism, citing the tools’ benefits for helping them work faster.
When it comes to Twitter, 57 percent of journalists found this social medium to be credible. When you consider the skepticism present in many newsrooms around new technologies, this is a significant data point. There is no question that journalists are embracing this channel as a platform of choice for social media journalism (if there is such a thing).
Of course, the survey has only tabulated the results from 317 journalism professionals so far. The survey is still open for a few more weeks, with the final results set to be reported in early November at the SNCR Research Symposium & Awards Gala. We don’t expect the numbers to change that drastically between now and the final report.
So What’s This Mean for You?
If you’re a journalist, and you’re not using social networks, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. You’re probably working harder than you need to. If you’re a source or a public relations professional, social media represents the most immediate path to increased results. If you position yourself as a source (and don’t do anything stupid to tick off a journalist through these social channels), you could find a goldmine of new publicity opportunities for you and your clients. Also, as a final note, don’t overlook your online newsroom. Journalists still consider your online newsroom as the top source for credible information on you.