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Tuesday, 28 October 2008 12:04

Journalists becoming comfortable in 2008 with Internet media tools: survey

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A survey a study by Bulldog Reporter and TEKgroup International, Inc. shows how journalists are increasing their usage of Web 2.0 technologies to research, follow and report news and features.

The study, reported 23 September 2008 by Bulldog Reporter and TEKgroup International, Inc., shows how journalists are increasing their usage of the Internet and other online resources to research, follow and report news and features.

The survey of working journalists across all media was conducted for the second year in a row using SurveyMonkey.com as the data collector, and generating valid responses from 2,386 journalists, of which approximately 48% were editors or editorial staff and 34% were reporters or writers.

The objective was to track year-over-year changes in journalist usage of the Internet and other resources to research, follow and report news and features material.

The report doesn't say, but these were journalists in the USA, presumably. It also doesn't mention what proportion of those surveyed were online journalists (like your friendly team at iTWire). They, naturally enough, are not just users of the types of online resources under study (blogs, RSS feeds, etc) but the very creators of them.

Respondents again reported that the single greatest change in journalism practices due to new Internet technology is that they can now research corporate and other news online 24 hours a day (77.8%) and they can now access media contact phone numbers and email addresses online (67.5%).

Nearly half of all journalists report visiting a corporate website or online newsroom at least once a week, and almost 87% report visiting a corporate website or online newsroom at least once a month. Ironically, despite such heavy traffic from journalists, most corporate websites seem inadequately designed to accommodate them:

Almost half of journalists complain that when they visit organizations’ websites, it’s often difficult to find the organizations’ media representatives or to find contact information for those representatives.

Journalists also report a significant increase in usage of blogs, social media and RSS feeds to stay on top of the news.

Almost 75% of journalists read one or more blogs to keep up with the subject matter they cover, compared with only about 70% a year ago. Today, some 29% of journalists regularly read five or more blogs to keep up with their beat, compared with about 26% last year.

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The increase in journalists visiting social media sites to do their job has risen even more dramatically: Today about three-fourths of journalists use social media to research stories, compared with about 67% last year.

Almost 38% of journalists now say they visit a social media site at least once a week as part of their reporting, compared with only 28% last year. More than 53% now say they visit a social media site at least once a month, up from about 44% last year.

Nearly 19% of journalists report that they receive five or more RSS feeds of news services, blogs, podcasts or videocasts every week, a gain of about three percentage points over last year, and a total of about 41% receive at least one regular RSS feed, a gain of over four percentage points.

While about half (48.7%) of journalists report that they never seek audio or video material from corporate websites, nearly 23% say they seek such material at least once a month—an increase of about three percentage points over the past year.

Among journalists working in national television, some 10.3% seek audio or video material once a week or more and that number jumps to 46.7% seeking such material at least once every three months.

Among journalists working in local radio, some 38.4% seek audio or video from corporate websites at least once a month.

While a large majority (76.4%) of journalists report that they use their local newspapers to follow the news (followed by the New York Times at nearly 63%), some 51% of journalists report that they use Google News, about 32% use Yahoo! News services to stay abreast.

Hmmm. I wonder what such a survey would show for Australia, and other parts of the world. ... Any comments?

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Tony Austin

Worked at IBM from 1970, for a quarter century, then founded Asia/Pacific Computer Services to provide IT consulting and software development services (closed company at end of 2013). These says am still involved with IT as an observer and commentator, as well as attempting to understand cosmology, quantum mechanics and whatever else will keep my mind active and fend off deterioration of my grey matter.

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