Journalists Less Skeptical, More Reliant on Social Media
Social media has turned the journalism world upside down, changing the way media outlets reach their audiences, PR professionals pitch their clients and journalists source their stories.
While many journalists were hesitant to hop on the bandwagon four years ago, we now see a shift from skepticism to reliance on social media to source and promote new stories. Yet, with rising concerns over privacy and security and major fundamental changes in the way the digital world works, more than half of journalists believe social media undermines the value of their profession.
With data from over 3,000 journalists in 11 countries, including U.S., U.K, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Australia, the “2015 Social Journalism Study” discovered 10 major findings on how media professionals’ social media usage continues to shift annually. Conducted by Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University, the report provides insight into the similarities and differences between five groups of social journalists in regards to their attitudes, behavior and use of the varying platforms.
Here are five of the report’s findings on social media’s role in journalism:
1. Less Journalists Skeptical of Social Media
Compared to 2012, last year the number of skeptic or novice users dropped 7 percentage points, from 31 percent to 24 percent. This is unsurprising, seeing that more journalists regard social media as an integral tool for the profession, and are therefore making more of an effort to leverage it to lessen their workload.
2. Social Helps Break Headlines, Build Relationships
With 67 percent of journalists logging into social media accounts each day, it’s clear why more than half claim they wouldn’t be able to do their job without the online platforms. Additionally, as the amount of time journalists spend on social media increases, so too does their overall productivity.
3. English-Speaking Journalists Are More Active
With a quicker social media adoption rate, it’s no surprise that journalists in English-speaking countries engage the most with their audiences. More than half of journalists in the U.K., U.S. and Australia post original content each day, while only a third of non-English-speaking journalists do. However, the frequency and language used in posts does not necessarily result in a larger audience. Only 13 percent of U.S. journalists and 10 percent of Australian and U.K. reporters have more than 10,000 followers.
4. Pitching Styles Remain The Same
While a majority claim social media is essential to their everyday work, less than a quarter (23 percent) of journalists accept pitches via social media. A preference for pitches via phone calls continues to decline, while email continues to reign as the favorite pitching medium.
5. Security and Privacy Raise Concerns
Just because journalists are becoming less skeptical about using social media for their stories doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned when it comes to their personal privacy and account security. Half of the journalists from five of the six countries claim to be seriously worried about those hot-button issues. Finland is less worried, with only 35 percent claiming concern, while Germany is the most alarmed at 63 percent.
Increasing security issues can directly influence a journalist’s role in the world. Majority continue to believe that a journalist’s prime function is to investigate those in power positions. However, due to social media’s impact on how the digital world accesses information, more than half of all journalists polled believe social media undermines the value of a media-based profession.
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