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
922956 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great frustrations of working on this project has been that the topic is so fast moving that the paper is inevitably out of date already.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:
- The Project for Excellence in Journalism showed how Facebook had become a critical traffic driver to US news sites in 2010, while Twitter was making less of an impact.
- The Oriella Digital Journalism study found that journalists increasingly use social media – but also that the majority still don’t.
- The sessions of the BBC Social Media Summit provided a great deal of insight into how newsrooms in Britain and around the world view social media.
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.
The findings also reveal that while search aggregators remain the most popular way users find news, the universe of referring sites is diverse. Social media is rapidly becoming a competing driver of traffic. And far from obsolete, home pages are usually the most popular page for most of the top news sites."