Survey Says: Journalists Depend on Social Media for Story Research

The Buyer Group is not surprised, journalists use social media but still need the PR agency.  A national survey recently found an overwhelming majority of journalists now depend on social media sources when researching their stories.

The research says 89% of reporters and editors surveyed turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook, 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter, and 61% use the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

“As an early adapter to social media, I’ve learned this is a natural way to communicate a corporate message,” said Lisa Buyer, online PR and social media expert. “The key is timing, delivery and participation.”

While these numbers may indicate what many in the PR industry already knew, the survey also made it clear that journalists still find it necessary to verify information, especially that provided by social media. “Social media provides a wealth of new information for journalists, but getting the story right is just as important as ever,” said Don Bates, founding director of the GWU Strategic Public Relations program, and writing/media relations instructor.

That’s where your friendly PR professional comes in. Editors and reporters surveyed said they depend on PR professionals for “interviews and access to sources and experts” (44%), “answers to questions and targeted information” (23%), and “perspective, information in context, and background information” (17%).

As time is increasingly measured in social media minutes, PR pros have an equally heightened responsibility to ensure their clients are pumping out accurate, timely content that can be easily verified.

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