Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University have published the results of its annual Social Journalism Study, which charts the changes in the use of social media amongst journalists and media professionals.
The study, which involved 769 participants, compared online, broadcast and magazine journalists and found that online and broadcast journalists use a greater variety of social media tools. 70 per cent of broadcast journalists and 66.5 per cent of online journalists use more than five types of social media tools for work in a typical week, compared with 52.4 per cent of newspaper journalists and 51.2 per cent of magazine journalists.
When asked if they see the social media impacting their work positively, about half of UK journalists agreed. Respondents were especially positive about the impacts on how they promote themselves and their work, on the relationship with their audience and on how they communicate. However, they were less sure of the extent to which social media tools have improved their productivity or how essential social media tools are for their work overall.
In 2011, almost half of UK journalists (49 per cent) agreed that social media tools enhanced their productivity, while this year only 39 per cent thought so. At the same time, the percentage of those who disagreed that social media improved productivity increased from 20 per cent to 34 per cent.
Freelance journalists were more negative about the impact compared to their colleagues working in organisations. 23.3 per cent of freelancers had generally negative perceptions about the impact of social media on their work, compared with 15.2 per cent working in large organisations.
Magazine journalists are the least positive about the impact of social media on their work (42.1 per cent saw the impact generally positive) while online journalists are the most upbeat about social media (57.6 per cent positive views). 25.2 per cent of newspaper journalists and 23.7 per cent of magazine journalists thought that they would not be able to carry out their work without social media, while the figure for online journalists was 43.6 per cent.
In general, younger journalists were more positive about the impact of social media compared to their older counterparts. 61.9 per cent of those aged below 27 years old saw the impact of social media on their work positively, compared with 38.4 per cent of those older than 45.
Journalists were less positive this year about the impact of social media on their relationships with their audience. In general, they thought that social media allowed greater engagement with their audience, but the number who strongly agreed with that sentiment dropped from 43 per cent to 27 per cent.
Similar views were expressed about crowdsourcing and its impact on the quality of journalism: In 2011, 33 per cent thought it improved their journalism and 28 per cent disagreed, while a year later those who agreed decreased to 24 per cent, and the level of those who disagreed remained almost the same.