Global Impact of Social Media on the Newsroom
If you know me, you know I love a good study. And I found the findings in the 2012 Oriella PR Network Global Digital Journalism Study to be fascinating.
Titled The Influence Game: How News is Sourced and Managed Today, the study shows the deepening penetration of digital and social media into all areas of newsgathering and production.
The study was conducted in April and May of this year and surveyed 613 journalists who work for a variety of different media outlets (from broadcast to blogs) in the following countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, the U.K., and the U.S. On average, 38 journalists were surveyed in each country.
The global economy is affecting newsrooms
The study found that journalists in Asia, Brazil, and Russia had a sunnier outlook on their news organization than those living in Western Europe and North America.
This year the study found that 12% of respondents globally believed their publication would go belly up, down from 21% last year. Check out how individual countries and regions fared when asked the question of falling (or growing) revenues:
- Europe: 43%
- Brazil, Russia, China, North America: 21%
- Spain: 67%
On a more upbeat note, journalists in Russia, Brazil, and China seem to be doing great. Advertising revenue, audience, and editorial staffing is all up in these countries. According to this study, the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China will experience double-digit growth in ad spending during 2012. France will see a scant 2% and the U.K. will see 3.4%.
Online publishing is slowing…slowly
Under half of respondents globally said their biggest audience was online as opposed to nearly 60% in 2009. When you break it down into specific countries, it looks a little different. While 48% of the respondents globally said that their audience was offline (meaning they consumed news using the “traditional” print/broadcast format) the following countries had very different results:
Percent of offline readership:
- New Zealand: 63%
- Russia: 36%
- France: 31%
- U.S.: 20%
Social media impact
Last year’s survey found that just under half of respondents used Twitter for sourcing stories and 35% used Facebook. This year found that 54% of respondents use these social media outlets (and other similar sites depending on the country) if the source is trusted by the journalist. Forty-four percent said they used blogs to source angles for new stories.
Journalists in North America use these sources for their stories more than journalists in the rest of the world. In Russia, 90% of respondents said they used microblogging for news sourcing.
But this paints a picture of trusted social media sources only. When asked about unfamiliar sources, journalists were more hesitant to trust them—26% of respondents worldwide said they would use microblogs from sources they didn’t know.
Here is some interesting data on where journalists worldwide turn when researching a story:
- Press releases
- 2011: 22%
- 2011: 11%
- In-person interviews with corporate spokespeople
- 2011: 20%
- 2012: 24%
- 2011: 4%
- 2012: 3.5%
- PR agencies
- 2011: 7%
- 2012: 6.5%
- 2011: 5%
- 2012: 4%
Infographics are on the rise
I love infographics! It’s a great way to illustrate data in a creative way. This year’s study found a huge interest worldwide in the use of infographics as a story-telling tool. The majority of respondents reported that their organization used in-house developed infographics (22%) as opposed to the percentage that used externally-developed infographics (17%). Adoption of this mode of story-telling is highest in Russia and China.
Change in online content
What people are offering for online content has changed drastically, too. The prevalence of offering TV and video clips has fallen dramatically in 2012 from about 48% to 23%. Twitter channels, which shot up from 40% to 55% between 2010 and 2011 has seen a decline to about 45% in 2012. Organizations that have a presence on Facebook and Google+ have grown in 2012, as has the ownership of a mobile app.
For the first time, this study asked journalists to report what they used for digital media on a personal level. The U.S. and Russia were the countries with the most journalist-bloggers, clocking in at 69% and 72% respectively. In Germany, only 24% of respondents had a personal blog while Portugal reported 41%, Spain 42%, the U.K. 47%, and France 48%.
North American journalists led the way with the most personal Twitter handles at over 80% with Europeans coming in at just under 50%. Personal Google+ pages had North American respondents in the lead at just under 60% with the rest of the respondents in the 20% to 26% range.
When it comes to the overall impact of digital media in journalism, this study shows that the answer is generally positive. Globally, 37% of respondents agreed that the quality of their title’s output had improved. This year, 34% of the journalists surveyed globally said they enjoyed the job more than last year. Unfortunately, this is a decrease from the 2011 data, which found the percentage of people who enjoyed their job more than the previous year to be 44. Perhaps this means there will be more freelancers on the market come 2013?