“How are journalists using social media?” is a question I am often asked by clients. It’s an interesting question, although not a new one, so my team and I decided to ask 200 of our key journalist contacts across Italy to see if any trends are starting to develop. We looked at various aspects of social and the media, from sourcing a story through to distributing the finished article. Here are some of the most interesting findings:
On presence: We found that 83% were present on Facebook, 70% on LinkedIn, while 69% regularly used Twitter. Only 9% of those surveyed said that they had not subscribed to any of these.
On trustworthiness: Just 5% of journalists stated that they fully trusted the information found on social networks and 8% declared they don’t trust them at all. The majority of journalists surveyed (62%) deemed them “quite reliable”, although still preferring to verify their trustworthiness via another source.
On shaping the news agenda: 38% of journalists considered social media to be a primary source of information that is then corroborated with other sources. Twenty five per cent use posts to compare different views, and 11% draw on social networks to enrich their stories. Only 2% would use information found on social media as a single primary source. Over a quarter (26%) don’t consider them an influence on the editorial agenda at all.
On news distribution: More than half of respondents (51%) consider social channels to be a very important aspect of news distribution, but only if used in conjunction with traditional channels. A significant 29% describe social channels as essential, because they allow interaction with a new readership who want to be involved in the story rather than just a passive reader.
You can follow, and join in, our Twitter discussion using: #RicercaLEWISPR and #LEWISsurvey
Feel free to get in touch in the comments below too with your thoughts, observations and predictions on how these figures may change in 2012.