Extensive Survey of Tech Journalists Reveals Impact of Social Media

Fusion PR revealed the results of an extensive media survey in which technology journalists were asked to describe the impact of social media on their jobs and profession. The survey of 9,300 journalists yielded over 1100 completed responses, a rate of 12%. It revealed a wide range of attitudes and practices related to social media.

Although traditional journalistic standards and practices continue to shape tech reporting, the survey illustrated the extent to which social media has crept into the fabric of almost every aspect of journalists’ job, affecting how they investigate articles, write stories, and how their content is package and delivered.

Technology journalists at all job levels across the spectrum of media, including newspapers, business press, consumer, trade publications, and broadcast and online were surveyed. The following are some of the results:

* When asked: “Has social media impacted your stories or the way you cover news?” a plurality of 40% said “Yes” with 10% of respondents selecting “I feel as if I have a new job now.”

* 78% read blogs.

* A plurality of 49% read just 1-3 blogs and most consult blogs several times a day.

* 31% regard bloggers as credible sources.

* 35% maintain their own blog.

* 67% cite blogs in their articles.

* Search engines were the top ranked means for researching companies and trends.

* Most prefer to get information from companies or agencies via email, with relatively few rating RSS as important.

* More journalists ranked company websites as being important for article research, while podcasts ranked relatively low. The majority were neutral on blogs, Wikis and videocasts.

“The topic clearly struck a chord,” said Bob Geller, Fusion PR Senior VP. “Quite honestly, we were amazed by the number of responses. Many asked for a copy of the results. It confirmed what might seem obvious, but, more than that has cast a light on the specific influence and changes driven by social media.”

Although bloggers are still regarded warily by the majority, the results show that they are increasingly considered to be credible sources and cited in articles. Further, most journalists consult only a small number of blogs, and many cited the same names, indicating the growing influence of these bloggers on article development.

Some said that time and competitive pressure have jeopardized standards for fact checking and accuracy, while others said just the opposite: increased competition and blogger scrutiny are forcing a higher level of accuracy. Some commented on how social media helps with research and is another tool for doing good reporting. Others said that there still is no substitute for picking up the phone and calling a source.