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great frustrations of working on this project has been that the topic is so fast moving that the paper is inevitably out of date already.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."

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." Twitter: UK’s fastest growing website

"According to Hitwise, Twitter has become a key source of traffic to other websites. During May 2009, Twitter was the 30th-biggest source of traffic for other sites in the UK, accounting for 1 in every 350 visits to a typical website. Over half of this traffic (55.9%) is sent to other content-driven online media sites, such as social networks, blogs, and news and entertainment websites."

ReadWriteWeb: Hitwise: News Sites Need Search Engines and Aggregators

"According to Hitwise, the Drudge Report is the largest single source of visitors to news and media sites. Google News (1.5%), (1.4%) and Yahoo! News (0.8%) also drive relatively large amounts of traffic, but it is interesting that no single site really holds anything close to a monopoly here."

Hitwise Intelligence UK: Facebook the most searched for brand in the UK

Robin Goad: "Facebook’s UK Internet traffic has more than doubled over the last year and it is now the second most visited website in the UK after The social network accounted for 1 in every 24 UK Internet visits during the month of February and traffic to the site has already increased by 18.6% during 2009. ... The remaining four brands are all online retailers: eBay, Amazon, Argos and Tesco. eBay and Amazon remain the most popular online retail brands, but the more traditional high street players are gaining on them all the time. "