Social media hasn’t only changed the way we communicate, it has fundamentally transformed how news is created, consumed and distributed. Nearly half of U.S. journalists believe they cannot carry out their work without social media, and 51 percent feel fake news is a severe problem.

Cision, a provider of earned media software and services, recently released the findings of its sixth annual global social journalism study. It provides insights into how journalists use social media and examines the challenges that it has created (i.e. the increased focus on speed rather than analysis and battling fake news).

Key findings include:

  • Facebook and microblogs (Twitter and Snapchat) are the most widely used platforms, but half of the study’s respondents also use blogs, and just under half use a professional network (LinkedIn) and image sharing services (Instagram and Pinterest) regularly.
  • Audience interaction on social media is an important activity for many journalists – with 19 percent of respondents engaging with their audience via social media every hour and an additional 47 percent daily.
  • 77 percent of the study’s respondents felt that social media prompts a need for speed and increases the threat of fake news. This results in half-baked ideas being published and then later retracted. Moreover, once false information is shared on social media, it spreads like wildfire and becomes nearly impossible to contain.

News organizations have weathered severe financial woes and drastic staff cuts. Most are faced with having to do more with less, and the urgency to leverage digital communication tools that can share news in an instant, create two-way communication and promote a media outlet’s work and brand.

Beyond technology, journalists are more aware of the need to extend their reach by building strong relationships with industry experts, key influencers and public relations professionals. According to the study, from 2016 to 2017 the number of journalists who prefer to get information from subject matter experts, industry contacts and professional communicators increased.

As a direct result, public relations practitioners are ideally positioned to serve as vital resources for time-strapped and resource-challenged journalists. Both want to reach the public with information and good stories that educate, entertain and engage. Through honest, timely and ongoing communication, the relationship can be mutually beneficial. This is the best time ever to help journalists sift through the noise and get reliable information in the process of their reporting.

You know the saying, “if you want a job done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.” In some cases, that’s true. But you probably wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself no matter how enthusiastically you buy into the idea. Instead, you’d rely on a trusted professional. Let us show you how powerful public relations and messaging, paired with first-rate relationships with journalists, can make you an excellent storyteller.

Randy E. Pruett
Vice President & Account Manager