Yesterday Twitter previewed their best practices guide for journalists using the micro-blogging platform, which they’ll be unveiling in full late tonight at an Online News Association gathering at Twitter HQ.
Twitter’s timing couldn’t be any better, because a new study has revealed just how important the social channel is to journalists, particularly in the United Kingdom, where more than a quarter (28.1 percent) of UK journalists say they would not be able to carry out their work without social media, and four in five (80 percent) are using Twitter.
In their annual Social Journalism Study, Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University discovered that Twitter was far and away the most popular social platform amongst journalists, with almost half (47.9 percent) boasting more than 500 followers.
The survey identified five types of journalist who use social tools – architects (thought leaders), observers (information seekers), sceptics (rarely contribute), promoters (focus on their own content) and hunters (networkers). Hunters boast the largest numbers of followers and are the most prominent group amongst UK journalists, accounting for 35 percent of their number.
However, it isn’t all good news – just 39 percent of journalists believe that social media increases productivity, a figure that was down 10 percentage points on last year, and about one in six (16 percent) believe that social media will eventually kill journalism altogether.
“This year’s survey found that, compared to last year, journalists are using a greater variety of social media tools and are more reliant on social media for many of their professional tasks,” said Dr Agnes Gulyas, Principal Lecturer, Department of Media at Canterbury Christ Church University. “However, we also found that journalists are less positive about some of the impacts of social media, such as on their engagement with their audience, their productivity and the quality of journalism.”
Cision have presented some of their findings in this infographic.