An increasing number of readers in the United States are consuming news through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. A recent Pew Research Center study found that 67 percent of American adults get at least some of their news on social media.
Because of these changes in audience behavior, most US news organizations are disseminating their content through social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Journalists also use these social media in their reporting.
Lars Willnat of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and David Weaver of the Media School at Indiana University surveyed of 1,080 full-time journalists working for daily and weekly newspapers, radio and television stations, wire services, news magazines, and online news media throughout the United States. The goal of the study: to understand journalists’ use of, and attitudes toward, social media in their professional work.
The researchers found that eight in 10 journalists use social media in their daily work. Journalists working for television stations (88 percent) and wire services (97 percent) are the most likely to have incorporated social media into their daily work routine, while journalists at magazines (64 percent) and weekly newspapers (53 percent) are the least likely to have done so.
The findings also showed that journalists working for television (59 percent) and online news organizations (51 percent) are the most likely to consider social media important in their work, while wire service (32 percent) and magazine (24 percent) journalists are the least likely.
More than half of the journalists (54 percent) said they regularly use microblogs (mostly Twitter) for gathering information and reporting. Other social media are used much less frequently, including the blogs of other journalists (24 percent), crowd-sourcing sites such as Wikipedia (22 percent), audio-visual sites such as YouTube (20 percent) or professional sites such as LinkedIn (11 percent). Blogs by citizens (7 percent) are used the least.
About 73 percent of the journalists said they use social media to check what other news organizations do or to see if there is any breaking news. More than half of them also use social media to keep in touch with their audiences (60 percent), find new ideas for their stories (60 percent), gather additional information (60 percent) or find additional information or sources (both 54 percent).
The findings also showed that around 72 percent of journalists think that social media have a “very” or at least “somewhat” positive effect on their professional work. Only about 7 percent of the journalists—most of them working for newspapers and wire services—said the effect is negative.
The effects of using social media included self-promotion, better engagement with their audiences and faster reporting.
To read the full text of the study: https://bit.ly/2zs2iQY
Willnat, L. & Weaver, D. H. (2018). Social Media and U.S. Journalists. Digital Journalism, 6(7), 889-909.