Is Social Media Changing the Role of Journalists?
Since the dawn of the Internet, the role of journalists and the state of the media have been in a constant state of flux. With so much information available to the public with just the click of a mouse, how do media professionals maintain their authority over the news?
Social media has transformed the way journalists work, share their stories and interact with PR professionals and the public. But not all journalists see the onset of social media as a good thing.
Cision’s 2015 Global Social Journalism Study sheds light on the impact of social media on the role of journalists, analyzing data gathered from over 3,000 journalists and media professionals from 11 countries.
Here are four ways social media has transformed journalism:
1. There’s a new information landscape.
No longer are audiences sitting back and waiting for the news to come to them. Often they are the ones with the news, sharing stories online before journalists even hear about them. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 72 percent of adults get most of their news from friends and family, including via social media. As a result, traditional news organizations, as well as traditional sharing methods, are suffering. Instead, journalists are turning to social media to gather information, find sources and engage with audiences.
2. Traditionalists aren’t happy.
In Cision’s study, journalists are divided into five groups based on how much they embrace social media and their attitude towards it. While some media professionals have been quick to adopt social media as a routine tool, others are skeptical of its worth. Despite these varying degrees of opinion, most journalists hold similar views on how social media impacts their profession. According to the study, half of all journalists surveyed believe social media undermines traditional journalistic values.
3. Social media is a necessary evil.
It’s safe to say journalists as a whole aren’t completely embracing social media – but they are using it. Sixty-seven percent of journalists reported that they use social media for up to two hours daily, and 58 percent say it has improved their productivity. Social media is a useful tool for journalists, and though they may not like it, they know it’s necessary in today’s Internet-driven world.
4. They love it and they hate it.
While journalists may not all hold social media in high regard, they do like what it has done for their work. Social media’s efficiency leaves more time for journalists to connect with their audience, discover new information and sources and take their stories even further.
“I hate social media,” said David Clinch, Global News editor for Storyful in an article for John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford by Cordelia Hebblethwaite. “It’s painstaking, it’s hard to learn, and hard to work with. But it’s like wild horses — once you tame it, you can have huge success.”
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