It’s official – journalists rely on social media sources to find stories. Traditional media may not be dead, but the best way to connect with them is online.
A national survey conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University’s Master’s Degree Program in Strategic Public Relations found that an overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories.
- 89% turn to blogs
- 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn
- 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter
- 61% use Wikipedia
Do they believe everything they read? No, says the survey. Reporters and editors are acutely aware of the need to verify information they get from social media.
- 84% said social media sources were “slightly less” or “much less” reliable than traditional media
- 49% saying social media suffers from “lack of fact checking, verification and reporting standards
“Mainstream media have clearly hit a tipping point in their reliance on social media for their research and reporting,” said Heidi Sullivan, Vice President of Research for Cision “However, it’s also clear that while social media is supplementing the research done by journalists, it is not replacing editors’ and reporters’ reliance on primary sources, fact-checking and other traditional best practices in journalism.”
Where do they go for primary research? PR people!
What are they looking for?
- 44% of editors and reporters surveyed said “interviews and access to sources and experts”
- 23% want “answers to questions and targeted information”
- 17% need “perspective, information in context, and background information”
- You no longer have a choice about being active on social media
- Your news content must be available online
- Learn to optimize your news content for search – use the free PRESSfeed toobar
- Get your content into social news sites and social networks
- Use Twitter for media relations – MediaOnTwitter, MuckRack, JournalistTweets and Twellow
- The social media press release, if done right, is your best tool:
- – Provide all the fact checking and research the reporters need
- – Learn to use del.icio.us to make fact pages for a press release
- – Offer the quotes and access for interviews
- – Add multimedia supporting content
And finally – upgrade your newsroom to a social media newsroom so that a journalist who runs across one piece of content on a blog or tweet can access all your social media content easily and quickly.