One in four UK journalists “can’t work without social media”

More than a quarter of UK journalists are unable to work without social media despite an increasing number of concerns about the consequences, according to the 2012 social journalism study results from Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University. Despite the spiralling dependency on social media, concerns about privacy were an impediment to greater use, with 16% of respondents claiming social media will kill journalism.

“Our previous studies confirmed that social media usage is standard for UK journalists” said Tom Ritchie, Managing Director, Cision UK. “It seems that sourcing information has overtaken self-promotion as their primary social activity, and I wonder if this is related to the expressed anxiety over privacy and Big Data.”

“This year’s survey found that, compared to last year, journalists are using a greater variety of social media tools and are more reliant on social media for many of their professional tasks. However, we also found that journalists are less positive about some of the impacts of social media, such as on their engagement with their audience, their productivity and the quality of journalism” said Dr Ágnes Gulyás, Principal Lecturer, Department of Media at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Other key findings:

  • 39% of respondents said that social media has improved their productivity.
  • The most popular social media among UK journalists is Twitter (80%).
  • Those who agree social media enables them to be more engaged with their audience is down from 43% in 2011 to 27%.
  • Age is the most important demographic influence on social media use.
  • The media sector journalists work in has a more significant impact on their uses and views than other professional factors.
  • Using Forrester Research Technographics® segmentation model as a comparison, the study revealed that journalists’ personal, non-work use of social media differs from those of the general population. Journalists are much more active general users and they play a key role in the world of social media through content creation, networking and other active uses.

“Unique to this study is the identification of types of professional social media users; architects, promoters, hunters, observers and sceptics” added Kristine Pole, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Canterbury Christ Church University. “They all approach social media differently, notably in their patterns of usage, the way that they embed these tools in their work, and their attitudes towards social media. The largest group in the UK is the hunter (35%) who is driven to use social media for sourcing, finding contacts and networking, gives limited contributions to content but has a high number of Twitter followers. Understanding journalists’ social media habits can help media organisations run their business more effectively as well as help PR professionals understand how to successfully communicate with different types of journalists.”

Download the full report here

To see the infographic summarising the study click here.

One in four UK journalists “can’t work without social media” 1

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