3rd February 2015

Have Journalists Lost Faith in Social Media?

A few years ago it seemed social media was fast becoming the essential tool in a traditional journalist’s armoury.

Forget contacts, press offices and calls from the public, a quick glance at twitter and Facebook would have them covered for what was going on in the world and who they needed to speak to.

So it was with some surprise that I read the news earlier this week that journalists use of social media has dropped since 2012.

Although I have some former colleagues on national newspapers who have a deep mistrust of social media, many use it regularly to source stories and research the best people to try and speak to.

Above is a perfect example of social media dovetailing with traditional media – the incident of a passenger jet being escorted in to Manchester Airport by the RAF after trouble had broken out on-board.

Although journalists were at the scene when the ‘plane touched down, most of the relevant updates were provided by passengers still on-board via Twitter. These were then picked up by journalists.

On the flipside social media can prove frustrating to the media due to the amount of fake accounts created.

Just yesterday, which saw the end of the football transfer window, rumours were flying all over social media with fabricated ‘sightings’ of players at various training grounds. A bit of fun for some, no doubt but spare a thought for the harassed football reporter chasing leads and following up anything and everything.

I suspect that the reason for the drop in hours spent on social media by journalists is that they have grown more skilled in how to use it quickly and have settled on the best places to look for information.

As a journalist you rely on your contacts. Finding the best and most reliable ones can take time and I believe the same has happened with social media.

By Dave Goddard, head of media