Media Criticism Spring 2012

Part 1: Deconstructing Super Bowl Ads

How Social Media Has Changed the Game for Journalists

Posted on | April 26, 2012 | No Comments

Courtesy of Marketingtech

Social Media has affected journalists in a huge way. It has completely changed the way many journalists’ report and research stories. I have noticed this myself by watching media on T.V. and reading articles. Journalists in the past were not so fortunate to have so many different tools at their disposal. All they had was a notepad and some intuition.  I for one have used social media in the past to do research for many class news projects. This could be a monumental change for how all journalists acquire stories and sources. Multiple mediums are responsible.


The first site to really change the way a lot of people do their job is Google. Search engines like Google have allowed many journalists to quickly search sources. In a blog from Top Rank Marketing they reported in a survey of journalists found that 91% of them use search engines like Google to do their jobs. It also reports that 89% use blogs and 65% use social media sites to research stories. A quote from the article comes from National Public Radio’s Jon Gordon. He states, “I use search engines on almost every story.  I use social networks to find additional sources, as well as for story idea generation and story feedback.” In a time where deadlines are important and reporters are hurt for time they turn to these for a quick way to find “local experts” as sources. T.V. news reporter Jason DeRusha says that he uses them frequently. For example he says, “For my story on whether we get enough Vitamin D in Minnesota, I searched ‘Vitamin D’ ‘Minneapolis’ and ‘expert.’ If a local company showed up very high with their own expertise in those results, I would have called that company.” These reporters then use social media sites like Facebook to message sources for interviews and also to find pictures for stories. T.V. reporters use YouTube to pull footage for stories they could get themselves.


In the book Newsonomics: twelve new trends that will shape the news you get author Ken Doctor writes how news organizations use social media to market themselves in what he calls “Law No. 10: Media Learn How to Market, Marketers Find New Ways to Make Most of Media.” In blog from Dreamgrow it states that 55% of journalists said that their publications use a Twitter feed and 54% use journalist blogs. Although, there is speculation on the validity for acquiring information from social media.  George Washington University did a research on social media and journalism, and found that among journalists, “Eighty-four percent said social media sources were ‘slightly less’ or ‘much less’ reliable than traditional media, with 49% saying social media suffers from lack of ‘fact checking, verification and reporting standards.’” In a blog from MarketingProfs it writes that website journalists have more trust in getting their sources from social media. It also found that newspaper and web journalists use social media for information than magazines.


Courtesy of Copyblogger

In a particular example I’ll use a blog from Mediabistro that writes 5 ways journalists can use the fairly new social media site Pinterest. Pinterest is a social photo sharing site where it is kind of like a pin-board where users can pin photos about their interests, hobbies, etc… The blog writes that news sites can use Pinterest to post pictures of their stories as well as invite readers to pin photos of their own to contribute to the stories. Also, you can include images of the news staff to create a better connection to the readers.


Doctor’s (2010) “Law No. 7: Reporters Become Bloggers” can attest to how blogging has become so important. From the research above it proves how much journalists get their research for stories for blogs. It seems this way because blogs seem to be the most accurate and resourceful of all the social media sites. I mean right now I am writing a blog with 4 sources coming from blogs and someone else might use my blog for a source for their blog!

Courtesy of Marketingprofs


More and more reporters will turn to social media for research. Although validity is a concern I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before sites like this are the norm and completely take over traditional ways how journalists work with stories.



Doctor, Ken. Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get. New York: St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.




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