Study: Journalists rely on social media, yet say it’s unreliable

ING surveyed about 400 reporters and found that they believe social media is a fact of life, but are iffy about it, and don’t have the highest standards of accuracy on such sites.

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• “One-third of journalists said social media posts are not a reliable source of information. Despite this half of journalists said social media were their main source of information.” Okay, let me get this straight. They think the information is not reliable, yet they rely on it? All righty then. • “Journalists (60 percent) said they feel less bound by journalistic rules on social media than with traditional media such as a newspaper article.” I’m fascinated by this statistic; what leads these journalists to stray? • “Journalists expect journalism to be driven by clicks and views more than by content.” Maybe this is what we should expect with Upworthy-style headlines being so prevalent, and Buzzfeed-style listicles ruling the Web. • “Sixty-eight percent of journalists use social media to find out what people are talking about.” Now this makes sense; it’s much easier now than ever before to discover what people are discussing and sharing. • “Eighty-one percent of PR professionals believe that PR can no longer operate without social media.” If you’re working in an organization that discounts the impact of social media, you’re in the minority. • The most frightening statistic of all from this study? “Only 20 percent always check the facts before publishing.” My former journalism professor will not be pleased when he reads this. Yikes.

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