Roughly a third of UK journalists say that they would not be able to conduct their editorial work without social media, and 39 percent of respondents said that social media has improved their productivity. These are the main findings from the annual Social Journalism Study conducted by Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University, which surveyed 3,650 journalists from 11 different countries – including the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the US, Canada, and Australia – of which 769 were from the UK. The results of the study show that Twitter is the most popular among journalists (used by 80 percent of respondents) and has increased in popularity by 10 percent compared to the previous year, followed by professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn, preferred by 76 percent of respondents, and Facebook, used by 72 percent of the surveyed journalists.
According to the study, the most common activities for journalists using social media are: posting comments (weekly – 71.2 percent, daily – 46.9 percent), maintaining a professional or work-related account (weekly – 61.3 percent, daily – 42,4 percent), re-posting on microblog sites (weekly – 60.6 percent, daily – 38.5 percent), and monitoring discussions on social media about their own content (weekly – 62.3 percent, daily – 36.7 percent). Conversely, less common activities for journalists on social media are contributions to content communities or crowdsourcing sites (e.g. Wikipedia). The reason given by journalists to account for their use of social media varies greatly from one type of media to another. For example, blogs are used by journalists for sourcing information about news (44.7 percent), monitoring (33.7 percent), publishing and promoting their own content (33.1 percent). Communities (meaning content is generated by users) are used to find information (53.6 percent) and to verify information (41.9 percent). Microblogging sites are used to publish content and for information monitoring. Most journalists (49 percent) use professional social network sites to enhance their database of authorized crowdsourcing, while traditional social networks are used to publish their own content (53.8 percent), and for information (40.1 percent). The least used type of social media are video-sharing websites (e.g. YouTube) and social bookmarking websites.
Overall, the study found that attitudes towards social media are highly positive, both from the journalist and analyst perspectives. A large number of respondent journalists (70 percent) believe that the use of social media allowed journalists to promote their professional image and their work much better and has positively influenced their contact with audiences. On the other hand, media experts say that social media is undermining traditional journalistic values, such as objectivity. In addition, journalists also found negative aspects regarding the use of social media in their publishing profession, mostly concerning data security as well as the trustworthiness of information found via social media.