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BizReport : Blogs & Content archives : February 16, 2010

Report: More newspaper research coming from social media

Are you reading your local paper with a feeling of déjà vu? The feeling may not be a trick of the mind. According to a recent report, many newspaper reporters and editors are turning to social media for article ideas and research. The national survey, conducted by Don Bates with The George Washington University and Cision, nearly 90% of reporters use social media for research purposes.

by Kristina Knight

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are garnering the bulk of reporters' attention but Wikipedia is also a favorite font of information with 61% of reporters saying they turn there for information. Most reporters turning to social networks and the like are writing primarily for the web, but writers for all sorts of news outlets are using social media.

The report found:

• 69% of online writers turn to social media
• 48% of magazine writers use social media
• 89% of all reporters reference blogs and 96% utilize corporate websites
• 72% of newspaper writers turn to social outlets

What is disturbing about the trend is that 89% of those using social media admit that blogs and social network sources are 'slightly less' or 'much less' reliable because of accuracy and verification concerns.

"Mainstream media have hit a tipping point in their reliance on social media for their research and reporting [however] it is not replacing editors' and reporters' reliance on primary sources, fact-checking and other traditional best practices in journalism," ">said Heidi Sullivan, Vice President of Research for Cision.

Rather than relying only on social sources, both writers and editors are turning the public relations professionals to firm up the information offered. As PR professionals become more credible sources it is important for manufacturers and brands to have contact information readily available for their PR workers. Having a simple contact form or offering 800 numbers for contacts will make the job of the reporter or editor simpler - and improve the chances that the brand is used in the story.

Tags: Cision, newspapers, online content, social media, social networks

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