Surprise! Journalists use Social Media!

It should come as no surprise, but it’s at least a confirmation of what I and others have been saying for a while.  A new study by Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) shows that 70% of reporters use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter when doing research for stories.

Here’s an excerpt from an article about the study on Journalistics:

The survey also found that 69 percent of respondents go to company websites to assist in their reporting, while 66 percent use blogs, 51 percent use Wikipedia (wow), 48 percent go to online videos (double wow), and 47 percent use Twitter and other microblogging services (would have guessed higher on this one).

A big part of this shift has to revolve around journalists having less help to do their jobs, while being required to produce more content across various formats in near real-time. Journalists have no choice but to use these tools to find sources fast – and in some instances – crowdsource suggestions, tips and interviews.

This is just confirmation that companies need to think of the big picture when formulating their web marketing strategy.  Of course, we should take the stories directly to the reporters by using media relations tactics.  However, reporters come up with stories on their own, and we need to be where they’re looking.  That means, among other things, being on Twitter and having good visibility in relevant Wikipedia articles.  One thing left out of the study (as far as I know) was how often reporters simply search on Google for sources.  I’d be willing to bet the percentage is quite high … so high in fact that SEO should be an extremely high priority for businesses.

Here’s a link to more on the study, from Journalistics.

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