Journalism and social media whitepaper

Daryl Willcox publishing has today released a whitepaper about how journalists have adapted to the rise of social media over the last five years, which I wrote for them.

The report is aimed largely at an audience of PR professionals who want an insight into how journalists think about social media, and it is being published alongside a survey about how journalists use social media. I must say some of the findings of that survey surprise me:

out of the 922 956 journalists surveyed, over 200 made additional comments – some scathing, slamming social media as a pointless communication channel to manage, and some pointing to the fact they are now dependent on these websites as news sources.

Other findings of the survey were less surprising:

The survey also found that little more than one per cent of respondents claimed they were using social media less than they were 12 months ago, confirmation that journalists reject the notion that social media may be a fad.

One of the great frustrations of working on this project has been that the topic is so fast moving that the paper is inevitably out of date already. In the few weeks since I finished writing this, there has been quite a lot of additional information and new examples that I would have loved to include:

There have also been some interesting case studies in journalists’ use of social media, most notably the critical role of New York Times journalist Brian Stelter’s (re-)tweeting in breaking the story of Osama bin Laden on Twitter. In Britain, we have seen Twitter play an central role in the debate about privacy injunctions.

Somewhat less dramatically, Stefanie Gordon’s images of the Space Shuttle Endeavour provided an excellent case study of how images published on social media sites rapidly becomes incorporated into news organisations’ output.

Inevitably, the best way to keep up to speed with developments in social media and journalism is by participating in the link sharing communities that social networking sites enable. So here’s one place to start: my feed of social media and journalism links.

Press Gazette: Guardian memo: 54,000 a month behind Times paywall

"New research from Experian Hitwise has been used by The Guardian to suggests that 54,000 people a month are accessing content behind the paywall of The Times and Sunday Times. The research was commissioned by Guardian News and Media and published internally on the company’s intranet yesterday."

New York Times: Some Newspapers Shift Coverage After Tracking Readers Online

"Looking to the public for insight on how to cover a topic is never comfortable for newsrooms, which have the deeply held belief that readers come to a newspaper not only for its information but also for its editorial judgment. But many newsrooms now seem to be re-examining that idea and embracing, albeit cautiously, a more democratic approach to serving up the news, particularly online."

Folio: What Kind of Online Editor Are You?

"At b-to-b publisher Questex Media, manager of search Alison McPartland and her team have developed a strategy that includes defining key areas certain editors are good at, and trying to apply those lessons to other editors within the group. ... Below are four benchmark classifications for online editors that McPartland and her group developed: Acquisition Expert ... Optimization Editor ... Retention Writer ... Engagement Enhancer..."

Hitwise Intelligence: Times paywall: initial data and analysis

Robin Goad: "what has the impact [of the paywall] been on traffic to the Times website? ... We have aggregated traffic to both old and new Times sites in order to cut out any double counting and provide a consistent comparison and, as you can see, the title’s market share has dropped from 4.37% during the week ending May 22nd to 2.67% last week (w/e June 19th). ... since it forced users to register in order to view its content, the Times has lost market share. However, this decline has clearly not been catastrophic and none of the paper’s rivals has particularly benefitted."

NewTeeVee: Are Publishers Ready to Embrace the iPad — Without Ads or Analytics?

"With the launch of the Apple iPad ... many web video publishers are already getting ready for the device by rolling out new video pages that will support HTML5 web video delivery ... The problem is that HTML5 is still in its infancy, and as a result heavily lags behind Adobe Flash for features that many video publishers already take for granted."

Media Week: Change in ABCe reporting makes Mail Online most popular website

"[ABCe] had made as its the headline number in its monthly multi-platform report, the daily average number of browsing devices accessing a website. It defines this as the sum of each day's traffic, divided by the total number of days. Unique browsers (ABCe has dropped the term 'unique users') are not de-duplicated between days."

Steve Yelvington: The soft paywall: Some more numbers to chew on

"On a wide array of local news websites, we're finding that heavy users -- people who visit more than 20 sessions a month, roughly equivalent to once every workday -- account for a disproportionately large percentage of the pageviews delivered on the sites. ... They might account for only 2 or 3 percent of the total unique users each month, but 20 to 30 percent of the pageviews."