The general public relies on journalists to check the facts and then report the news, but thanks to demand of social media the reverse appears to be taking place.
According to a new study conducted by ING, a Netherlands bank, journalists widely use social media posts as sources despite having doubts about their reliability. At the same time, public relations professionals believe that news is becoming less reliable and journalists do less fact checking.
While ING surveyed fewer than 400 journalists and public relations professionals, with 50 percent of the responses coming from the Netherlands, the report is not as broad or representative as it should be. Nevertheless, the results are still quite interesting.
The main insights at a glance:
- One-third of journalists said social media posts are not a reliable source of information. Despite this, half of the journalists surveyed said social media was their main source of information.
- Half of journalists surveyed said they consider consumer opinion to be more reliable than a statement by an organization.
- Only 20 percent of journalists check their facts before publishing.
- Almost half of journalists said they published most of their stories as quickly as possible and correct later if necessary. PR professionals also noted that since the arrival of social media, journalists are getting in contact less frequently to check facts.
- Sixty percent of journalists said they feel less bound by journalistic rules on social media than with traditional media such as a newspaper article.
- User-generated content is expected to grow. Conversely the role of crowd-checking, whereby the public’s opinion is used and accepted as being true, will grow in importance.
- Journalists expect journalism to be driven by clicks and views more than content.
For more on this study, check the infographic below.