A recent survey of journalists around the world found that more than half of them use social media to find news stories and about 45% use social media to verify stories. In the United States, over 60% find or check stories via Twitter, Facebook or similar sites. But according to the Oriella Digital Journalism study, journalists mostly consult social media sources they know and trust. For sources that are unknown or unfamiliar, the percentage of journalists using them in reporting drops by half, to about 25%.
The study was conducted by a PR network with an obvious interest in knowing how to reach journalists, but their results suggest some new trends in how reporters find stories. Notice in the chart below how press releases have dropped from first to third on the list of places to look for news stories. That sounds about right to me, although the content from those press releases may still be getting out via social media. But corporate spokespeople in first place? That just doesn’t ring true, so I’m not sure how much credence to put in that part of the study.