Nowadays, that has evolved to the state where reporters hardly pick up the phone to talk to sources, let alone cover stories by face-to-face meetings. Interviews are now done via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.
During a recent talk on social media and crisis communication, Dallas Lawrence, chief of global digital strategies for Burson-Marsteller, mentioned a survey indicating that 49 percent of reporters find story sources on Twitter.
For reporters, it takes the hard work out of searching for sources, because they can simply perform a hashtag search on a topic and find numerous sources, then contact one or more of them with a targeted tweet or direct message.
This phenomenon is particularly true with the new generation of reporters who have grown up with social media and texting, said Steve Myers, managing editor of Poynter.org, a site covering journalism issues, news, and trends.
“Maybe some of it is a natural evolution of our industry,” said Myers. “There still feels like there’s something transactional about it: Send questions on email, get answers on email, and put the story together without actually physically talking to someone.”