The founding director of a Political Management master's degree program at the George Washington University surveyed 371 print and web journalists from September to October of last year, with the aim of establishing to what extent social media tools are used in the research and distribution of articles.
The results of the online survey, reported on the university's newspaper website, found that 56 percent of those surveyed said that social media was important or somewhat important for reporting and producing stories, with the overwhelming majority citing the internet as the starting point for their research- despite the fact that 84 percent said news and information delivered via social media was slightly less or much less reliable than news delivered via traditional media.
Blogging emerged as the number one method for both researching and publishing stories, with 64 percent of journalists using blogs to distribute articles, and 89 percent using them for online research.
Two thirds are said to use LinkedIn and Facebook for research purposes, with just over half favouring Twitter - which came in at number two in the popularity ranks for article distribution with 57 percent.
Of the results, Trevor Seela, online managing editor of the Daily Northwestern, commented: "Newspapers are no longer just newspapers. They are publications that often combine both print and online media. As we see a switch towards a more web-oriented mentality, we have an increased need to promote articles via Facebook and Twitter to reach our audience."
Without doubt the future of newspapers and social media outlets will see the two ever more interlinked, yet Don Bates, the survey's co-author and current instructor in the GSPM, commented: "Traditional media won't disappear. Most in the category of traditional media will evolve to encompass a balance of online and offline production. Increasingly, the Internet will be the engine that drives media of all sorts, skewed more and more to snackable writing, interactive content and video," putting emphasis on the idea that the internet will not replace the traditional journalism, but rather continue revolutionise the way it is produced.
Source: The GW Hatchet