Just like many other professions, journalists are embracing social media as a listening tool as well as a source tool.
The big three: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are at the forefront of journalists’ social media resources. Facebook is a great tool for building online communities, finding sources, and engaging readers in content they enjoy. Twitter provides a connection to trends, inspires great story ideas, locates unique and local sources, and offers journalists a list feature to categorize their sources. LinkedIn gives journalists that professional connection to bloggers, industry leaders, academics, freelancers, and fellow journalist professionals. All three allow dissemination of information to a demographic traditional newspapers may not reach.
A January 2010 national survey by Cison and George Washington University revealed that a significant number of journalists are becoming increasingly dependent on social media tools. The report indicated 89 percent of respondents turn to blogs for story research, 65 percent to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52 percent to microblogging services such as Twitter. Surprisingly, the survey also revealed that 61 percent use the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
In a post on TopRank’s blog, TV News Reporter Jason DeRusha says, “Private business does a horrible job cataloging their expertise in a manner that’s search engine friendly. This is a real opportunity, as journalists become much more crunched for time, and use search as quick way to identify local experts.”
As a journalist, how likely are you to search for sources – both local and national – through social media platforms? Do you feel this would offer wider diversity in the sources featured in your stories?