How Journalists Have Become Hooked on Social Media
Journalists and media professionals are increasingly turning to social media to publish and promote their work, yet more than half say it has affected their productivity and is undermining traditional journalistic values. These are some of the key findings from Cision’s Global Social Journalism Study 2016, which explores the ways social media affects how journalists and media professionals work and how they communicate with PR professionals.
Most of those surveyed believe social media has ‘fundamentally changed their role as journalists and enables them to be more engaged with their audiences’. Over half of respondents in France and Canada and 48% in the US say they cannot conduct their work without social media, yet the majority of those surveyed don’t agree that social media has made them more productive at work.
Meanwhile, over half of US respondents (54%, up from 49% in 2013) feel social media platforms are undermining traditional journalistic values, a trend which is mirrored across all the seven countries surveyed. These figures suggest that while social media use has become more prevalent, the perception of social media and the impact it is having on the media has become more negative over the past three years.
The report – involving over 2,000 journalists and media professionals from the US, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Finland and Sweden – found the majority of journalists considered social media to be most important for a combination of publishing, promoting and monitoring, while Finnish journalists found interacting with audiences to be the key function of social media. Nearly two-thirds of American respondents (62%) feel social media is important for publishing and promoting content, while 58% regard it as important for interaction.
Over three-quarters of US journalists feel they are more engaged with their audience because of social media, but few commit to using user-generated content regularly. While around half of US respondents said they plan to use social media more in the future, almost four out of five (79%) said they had no intention of using crowdsourcing and user-generated content.
Facebook and Twitter remain the most favored platforms in the US, but most journalists use a variety of social media outlets at work. Journalists use at least three platforms for publishing and promoting, with the exception of France and Finland where social media is used to the same extent or even more for sourcing stories.
Almost half of respondents say they use social media for up to two hours a day, with 31% of Americans and Canadians spending over two hours a day on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and 15% of Swedes confessing to spending more than four hours of their working day on social media.
Email remains the preferred form of contact between American journalists and PR professionals, but social media follows closely behind. In 2015, 93% of journalists said email was the best pitching platform. The second most common method of communication is by phone. However, younger journalists (28-45 year olds) are more likely to interact with PR professionals via social media rather than by phone or email, which are methods preferred by journalists over 45 years old.