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How Social Media Is Paving a New Path for Journalism

More than half of journalists surveyed in Cision’s recent Social Journalism Study believe that they would not be able to carry out their work without turning to their social media accounts for help.

As this number increases, the number of journalists refraining from joining Twitter, Facebook or the like for work purposes continues to decrease (12 percent to 6 percent), emphasizing the fact that social media has and will continue to transform the state of the media.

These days, people are less likely to read the print newspaper, listen to the radio or tune in to the evening news broadcast to get their daily dose of news coverage. As online news continues to shift us away from these formerly popular mediums, journalists have had to evolve to keep up.

Check out which social media platforms journalists are turning to, how they’re using them and why:

1. Facebook

With 1.44 billion monthly active users (1.2 billion of them accessing the site on a mobile device), Facebook is the world’s biggest social network.

With the ability to target such a huge global reach, it makes sense that our study found Facebook to be one of the two dominant tools for journalists, particularly in Finland, Germany and Sweden.

English-speaking journalists prefer Facebook when it comes to promoting and distributing published content. In fact, analytics firm Parese.ly recently announced that Facebook accounts for 43 percent of traffic to media sites, beating out search engine giant Google.

In under two years, Facebook’s influence has doubled, and chances are that’s not going to stop any time soon. However, while Facebook has established itself as a content distributor, that’s not the only place journalists and news outlets are present.

2. Twitter


According to a report from Triggertrap, journalists are the largest group of verified Twitter users. While they may not have the highest number of followers, journalists turn to Twitter to source stories and promote their work online.

Twitter has also played a huge role in covering real-time events. With Twitter, quick details can describe an event, whether planned or an emergency, while the moment is still happening. Not all of these updates come from journalists themselves though.

For example, Twitter helped citizens participate in local and worldwide conversations during the Arab Spring. Citizen journalism is a tricky subject, and will most certainly continue to be debated upon as social media continues to evolve.

Want more insight on how journalists view and use social media? Read the full-length study today!

3. Google

Depending on the country, 30 to 48 percent of journalists turn to Google+. While many social media users find this tool useless, journalists have used it to invite followers to Hangouts, engage with others about hot topics and provide a deeper look at their personalities without going over character limits.

While Google+ is still trying to establish its true role, Google’s recent News Lab launch may push it down a specific path. Circulating stories through Google+ is one of the many features included in this new hub. For now, we’ll have to wait to see where this new initiative goes and whether journalists will stay on board or move onto the next platform.

4. Instagram


What was once deemed an app for the younger generation is really gathering steam these days. Not only does Instagram boast 300 million active users, but it also has the ability to tap into Facebook with a simple photo-linking ability.

Cision’s study shows, depending on the country, 30 percent or less of the journalists surveyed are using the app. But with more news outlets getting on board, like BBC with their Instafax project or the Guardian with #GuardianCam, chances are that number will rise over the next few years.

Freelance journalists and photographers have already vocalized their feelings towards the app and its value. Take Neil Shea’s words from earlier this summer: “The audience I reach on Instagram I’m absolutely sure is not the same audience I reach at National Geographic.”

While some journalists are still be warming up to the thought of incorporating social media into their work, the Social Journalism Study shows how time and understanding of how the tools work shifts this hesitation out of view.


Images: Roger H. Gounclaireteat, Norbert Relmer (Creative Commons)

Tags : social media

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

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