The 2015 Global Social Journalism Study, conducted by Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University (U.K.), produced some interesting findings and predictions about how journalists and media professionals use social media for their work.
I found these five conclusions the most interesting.
Journalists fit into five distinctive groups and are becoming more social media savvy.
The five groups are skeptics, observers, hunters, promoters and architects. Last year, skeptics outnumbered the observers (31 percent to 26 percent). This year, the opposite is true (29 percent are observers, 23 percent are skeptics). “This small shift suggests journalists’ use and attitudes towards social media are gradually moving towards acceptance as social media becomes an integral feature within the industry and their working life.”
The report describes each of the five groups in detail. The important point is that the various groups use social media differently, and media professionals need to take those differences into account when contacting journalists.
Social media is a routine tool for most journalists, but their use of it is stagnating.
Almost all the respondents (94 percent) use social media on a daily basis. However, after an initial rapid adoption of social media, the percentage of journalists using social media for more than two hours a day is declining. “This suggests that after the initial excitement of the introductory phase of social media, the journalists found an optimum amount of time to spend on social media. For most journalists, constant use presents no additional gains, and most are settling for up to two hours per day of use.”
About half the respondents believe they need social media to do their work.
Most of the respondents felt that social media made them more productive, and journalists in all six countries felt that social media had become more valuable the last few years. However, apparently social media doesn’t make their jobs any easier. Fully 85 percent of respondents thought social media had not decreased their workload.
Experts and PR professionals are key information sources for journalists.
U.S. respondents thought experts and PR professionals were the two most valuable sources of information. Only about one-third of the respondents felt they were less reliant on PR professionals because of social media, “suggesting that social media supplements journalists’ information (sources), but does not replace existing PR networks.”
Journalists prefer to be contacted by email, but social media is gathering pace.
Overwhelmingly, journalists want PR people to contact them by email. U.S. journalists rank social media as their second-favorite contact method, followed by phone calls.
Based on these results, the survey developers made the following predictions:
- Time spent using social media is not going to increase significantly. Journalists will focus on a few preferred tools and some specialist apps to make social media work for them.
- Although social media is increasing journalists’ productivity, it is not reducing their workload. Journalists will make strategic decisions about their principal use of social media and their preferred tools for achieving their work goals.
- Email will continue to dominate the PR-journalist relationship. For journalists, the preference for telephone contact will continue to drop and be replaced by social media.
- Journalists will continue to rely on experts so they do not compromise their values and views of their profession by sourcing from sources that are perceived to be unreliable.
About the Survey
This is the fourth year that Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University have done this survey. Journalists from 11 countries participated—the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Spain and France. However, the results only include responses from the first six countries listed, as they are the only ones that have participated all four years of the survey. Most of the findings are based on more than 3,000 respondents. Half were women and slightly less than half (48 percent) fell into the 28-45 age group.
I’ve only touched on a few highlights. I encourage you to read the report in its entirety. You’ll be glad you did.