2010 survey on social journalism


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2010 survey on social journalism

  1. 1. Executive Summary 2010 Survey on Social Journalism
  2. 2. 2010 Survey on Social JournalismEXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF RESULTSA broad online survey across all media was conducted by Cision, in conjunction withthe University of Sunderland. The survey included journalists from the UK, France andGermany, and is designed to enhance the media industry’s understanding of social mediauptake and the impact of social media technologies and processes on journalists’ work.A total of 549 valid responses are included in these results.KEY FINDINGS1. Social Media Complements Traditional ChannelsJournalists across all three markets were largely in agreement that social media siteswere an important working tool. However, social media is being used in conjunction withmore traditional sources, such as press releases or direct contact with PRs. Importantly,while social media is playing an increased role in the journalist’s day-to-day life, personalcontacts remain one of the leading sources for stories and fact checking.2. Wikipedia Most Used Social Media SourceRespondents tended to find stories from traditional sources, such as contacts,PRs and corporate sites. They also actively used Wikipedia to source stories, particularlyin Germany where use of the site was around twice that seen elsewhere. Wikipedia wasalso used for fact-checking, with over 60% of respondents using the site to check storiesat least once a week, compared to 22% for blogs, or 34% for news wire services.3. Journalists Perceive PRs As Not Understanding Social MediaOne-third of respondents in the UK felt that PRs did not understand social media.The journalists’ perception is that PRs seldom communicate with them via socialplatforms, despite their regular use of social media platforms to source stories.Page 1
  3. 3. INTRODUCTIONThe wave of search and collaborative (“Web 2.0”) technologies that have accompaniedthe spread of broadband over the past ten years are wholly rewriting the rules of publishing.It has become commonplace for individuals to publish content online, ranging from photosfrom day-to-day life to world-historical events scooped on a mobile phone. At the sametime, this proliferation of content, and the changing structures through which it is delivered,have severely undermined the economic foundations of traditional media.In many respects, the consequences for journalism have been well documented. Newsroomshave been redesigned to better channel online news gathering; while traditional roles havebeen outsourced, replicated by technology, or demolished outright. The profession as awhole has been subject to extreme cuts, piling pressure on remaining staff.Yet the intersection of journalism and social media – the ways in which journalists usesocial media in their work – has been subject to considerably less examination. As aprovider of workflow software and services for the communications industry, it is essentialthat Cision understand and reflect the changing ways in which journalists communicate– with PRs, with the public, with their friends and colleagues – in order to create the mosteffective solutions for our clients.Earlier research by Cision North America and Cision Scandinavia firmly suggested thegrowing significance of social and other digital media in the lives of journalists in theseregions. Whether working in ink or pixels, they were clearly using blogs, Twitter and Google.Yet quite how journalists made use of these technologies was not entirely clear. In July2010, we asked that question directly to journalists in France, Germany, and the UK.Drawing a sample from the millions of journalists profiled in our Media Database,we approached journalists across a broad range of media types, interests and locales.Most were aged between 24 and 44, but younger and older age groups were also wellrepresented. A large majority of the respondents had been journalists for more thanten years.The following provides an overview of the UK results while referencing findings fromGermany and France where comparisons were relevant.Page 2
  4. 4. DETAILED SUMMARY OF RESULTS 7%The social newsroom 5%Social media are well established as a complementary working utensil ant r ta tfor journalists in the UK, Germany and France – but particularly the UK. por t po ha nt i m ew74 per cent of the UK journalists said that social media had become an Unim Un Som 32% Imp er 14%important tool in their work, while in Germany and France a little over or t ith ant Ne t Nor50 per cent thought it important. n ant r t a or t po Im nimp UIt’s important to stress that this does not reflect the technographic splitof the sample – when asked about the importance of online and social Somew antmedia in their lives, the journalists were more evenly divided, with as Importmany as 50 per cent of German respondents stating that they were hateither “unimportant” or somewhat “unimportant” outside the office.Networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook were identified as the 42%single most important social technology for journalism by approximately30 per cent of UK respondents, with Twitter not far behind. Again,the picture in Germany and France was similar, although French How important has social mediajournalists appear comparatively Twitter-verse. Despite this, and the become in your work?broader range of sites used in France and Germany (Xing in Germany,for example), Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook were the most-usedplatforms in all three countries.According to our study, there has been a significant increase in journalists’use of social media and search engines over the past three years. 5% 3%However, traditional tools are not being relegated – only a small minority Review s.com 6% epinionof respondents reported using traditional channels either more or less O th 26% er Nothan they did three years ago. Online tools are supplementing rather sites e.g ne g in g g terthan replacing traditional communications. 12% Pho o blo Twit s h a to / V i icr g. M e. . F li c r ing s i d e o k r o te s r Yo e.g. uTu be So tes g or si Xin ci e.g Fa al . c Ne Lin eb tw ke oo s or dIn k og ki , Bl ng 20%1 28%234 What social media do you use to publish, promote and distribute your content?5 0% 20 40 60 80 100 Compared with three years ago, how often do you use the following in your work? 1 PRs More now than three years ago 2 Corporate Sites About the same as three years ago 3 Press Releases Less now than three years ago 4 Search 5 Social MediaPage 3
  5. 5. DETAILED SUMMARY OF RESULTSJournalists at work 14% 15%The chart on the right shows the relative proportion of UK respondents Co husing various media and communications tools for sourcing stories more arc nt a Se 7% ctsthan once a week. At this level, there is an even split between social 6%media and more traditional approaches to sourcing, such as personal W ir es it ter Twcontacts, newswires and corporate websites. Search engines remain the Social 7%key online technology here, with a little over a quarter of UK respondents Networks 11% PRsturning to social channels to source stories. Blo Re to / V gs te Ph v ie te r aThis picture was remarkably consistent across all three territories, o w Si or p o 8% Wikipedia Si s tealthough German use of Wikipedia was around twice that elsewhere. C s ideThis was a trend repeated through the journalistic process. It is clear o 13% 5%from comments made by German respondents that this is not necessarily 5%an issue of greater trust in the online encyclopedia: most respondents 9%flagged the need to check the validity of Wikipedia entries as much asother social sources. When sourcing stories, do you use theDifferences between social and traditional tools become more apparent following frequently (more than oncewhen journalists were asked about fact-checking (See the table below). a week)?Here we clearly identify a preference for research and validation throughPRs, personal contacts and corporate websites – though again, Wikipediawas more frequently used at this level in Germany than anywhere else.Our survey firmly suggests that social media’s prime purpose in journalismcomes in the promotion of their work. (See the chart on the right). 54 per 26%cent of UK journalists indicated that microblogging and social networking M g. T 28% e. icr w iwere among their main channels for distributing their work. There was g kin , ob t te or in lo ra greater reliance on social networking in Germany and France, tw ked ook gg e l N Lin eb inwhere attitudes toward Twitter appear more suspicious, but the picture cia .g. ac g So es e or Fwas much the same. This self-promotion suggests that the longstanding . sit Xing sites e.g Review s.comentrepreneurial nature of journalism is perhaps becoming more inion Flickr g sites e.g. 5% ep Tube er sharin / Videopronounced amid the uncertainty that clouds the industry. O th or You 3% ne No Bl og Photo s 1 6% 20% 2 3 12% 4 5 6 7 When promoting your work, do you use the 8 following frequently (more the once a week)? 91011 0% 20 40 60 80 100 How often do you use the following for fact-checking your stories? 1 Contacts 7 Photo / Video Never (0 times a month) 2 Wires 8 Blogs Occasionally (1-2 times a month) 3 PRs 9 Social Networks Often (Once a week) 4 Corporate Sites 10 Twitter Very Often (More than once a week) 5 Wikipedia 11 Search All the Time (Once a day or more) 6 Review SitesPage 4
  6. 6. DETAILED SUMMARY OF RESULTS 7% 3%Social media and PRWe asked the journalists to what extent they agreed with the statement Agree Completely Disag tely C ompthat “PRs understand how to use social media”. Although 25 per cent ree 23% leof UK respondents believe PRs agreed “somewhat” or “completely”, 25% ree32 per cent disagreed, suggesting a general perception that PRs lack Dis A g hat Somagree ew ew h omthe knowledge and understanding of social media and how best to use it. at SThis perception is underscored by the ways in which journalists currentlycommunicate with the PR community. Don’t Agree /Traditional channels still dominate this dialogue, with 57 per cent of Disagreejournalists claiming that PRs still mainly rely on press releases and phonecalls. The journalists’ perception is that PRs seldom communicate withthem via social platforms – much less web/video conferences – in their 42%regular work.There appears to be a real opportunity for both journalists and PRs to To what extent do you agree with the followingbetter use social channels. There is certainly considerable appetite statement? “PRs understand how to useamong journalists for social media activity. At the same time, it is clear social media”.that journalists in all three countries continue to cherish PRs’ traditionalstrengths: providing access to the best contacts and interviews, an in-depthunderstanding of organisations and their issues, professionalism with apersonal touch. 5% 7%Such skills are very much transferable to the social space. Certainly most 5% LinkedIn Face tojournalists would welcome some trustworthy professionalism in social Fa c 8%media: 66 per cent of respondents stated that information delivered via ebo Bl Face ogsocial media is slightly or much less reliable than that delivered by other ok 24%channels, with only 5 per cent considering it more reliable – statistics 6% Twit te ph one r Telethat go some way toward explaining the journalists’ fondness for self- ediapromotion ahead of sourcing and validating. The kind of problems one ial M We Soc ase Co b / Vi ewould expect surfaced in responses from all three countries: lack of 10% Rel nfe de ren o Press Release ceaccountability, anonymity, and relevance. 2%But it was also clear that when the source is trusted, social channels are greatway to connect: as one UK respondent said, social media is more reliable“as you’re going straight to the source” – a view echoed in all countries. 33% 3% What channels you frequently (more than once a week) use to talk with journalists? Slightly More Reliabl 26% ble 29% lia Abo s Re es e ut t he S hL am e Muc A Lot Mor e Rel iable 2% Less Re Slightly liable Compared with traditional offlinechannels, how reliable 40% is social media?Page 5
  7. 7. ABOUT THE SURVEYIn July 2010, Cision Media Research, linked with the University of Sunderland, completedan online survey in the UK, France and Germany simultaneously. The survey was designedto enhance the media industry’s understanding of social media uptake and the impact ofsocial media technologies and processes on journalists’ work.Respondents were taken from Cision’s media database of more than 1.5 million influencersglobally. Country-specific sub-panels were set up and 5,000 journalists per country were invitedwith broad spread of work experience, media types as well as geographies.Below is an outline of the respondents for each country:UK Germany FranceMost respondents aged 24- Most respondents aged All ages even represented34, 35-44 but all age groups 35-44, 45-54 by respondentswell represented Fewer younger respondents A large majority have beenA large majority have been journalists for more than A large majority have beenjournalists for more than ten years journalists for more thanten years ten years n = 139n = 279 n = 131Cision will conduct this survey on an annual basis to continue to inform on best practices withinthe PR and communications field and to deepen the industry’s understanding of how journalistsand professional communicators use and value social media and other resources. Pleasecontact research.europe@cision.com if you wish to participate in the next survey securing yourtimely access to survey results and analyses.ABOUT CISIONCision (uk.cision.com) empowers businesses to make better decisions and improveperformance through its CisionPoint software solutions for corporate communication andPR professionals. Powered by local experts with global reach, Cision delivers relevant mediainformation, targeted distribution, media monitoring, and precise media analysis. Cision hasoffices in Europe, North America and Asia, and has partners in 125 countries. Cision AB isquoted on the Nordic Stock Exchange with revenues of SEK 1.5 billion in 2009.Visit uk.cision.comCall 0800 358 3110 (From outside the UK: + 44 (0) 207 689 1160)Email info.uk@cision.comPage 6