Survey: Majority of Journalists Now Depend on Social Media for Story Research

An overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media for their story research, a new survey of journalists has found. Among the journalists surveyed by Cision, a media analysis firm, and George Washington University’s Program in Strategic Public Relations: 89 percent said they use blogs for story research, 65 percent use social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and 52 percent use microblogging services like Twitter. Surprisingly, only 61 percent use Wikipedia (or perhaps more accurately: admit to using Wikipedia).

Which makes online sources of information and story-connection much more popular than their human kinda-counterparts. According to the survey,

most journalists turn to public relations professionals for assistance in their primary research. 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%).

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.