2014 Study – Impact of Social Media on News: more crowd-checking, less fact-checking

SMING14The Social Media Impact (#SMING14) survey conducted by ING among an international group of journalists and PR professionals shows that dialogue on social media is gaining importance. Journalists widely use social media posts despite having doubts about their reliability. At the same time PR professionals believe that news is becoming less reliable as journalists do less fact-checking.

The ING survey also revealed that a majority of journalists feel less bound by journalistic rules on social media. Social media are increasingly being used as a means of engaging in dialogue, although Dutch PR professionals lag behind their international peers in this respect.

In line with ING’s ambition to be at the forefront of developments in social media, ING in 2012 concluded its first study into social media use by journalists and PR professionals. The survey showed that social media have revolutionised the media landscape. In 2014, the study into the role of social media among PR professionals and journalists has been repeated with the aim of gaining an insight into the impact of social media on the activities of PR professionals and journalists and how they have influenced the news and the way news is disseminated.

The Social Media Impact survey was conducted by ING among an international group of journalists and PR professionals to establish to what extent there are differences in the way countries make use of social media.

The highlights from this report provide an insight into the following questions:

  • To what extent are social media seen as reliable?
  • To what extent is public opinion via social media used in publishing news?
  • To what extent do journalists undertake fact-checking and crowd-checking?
  • To what extent do journalists act differently in traditional media and social media?
  • To what extent do Dutch PR professionals use social media differently from international PR professionals?
  • What are the expectations of PR professionals and journalists with regard to social media?

The 5 main insights at a glance

  • One-third of journalists said social media posts are not a reliable source of information. Despite this, half of journalists said social media were their main source of information.
  • Remarkably, half of journalists said they consider consumer opinion to be more reliable than a statement by an organisation. Journalists use social media to find out what people are talking about and when writing articles, but do not always check whether public opinion is based on facts.
  • Fact-checking has become less thorough; ‘publish first, correct if necessary’ is the motto these days. Only 20% of journalists always check their facts before publishing. Almost half of journalists said they published most of their stories as quickly as possible to 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.
  • Journalists (60%) said they feel less bound by journalistic rules on social media than with traditional media such as a newspaper article. They act differently on social media than in traditional media, sharing their personal opinion more openly on social media, despite the fact that journalists are seen as being objective and reporters of news facts relating to events of general importance.
  • Dutch PR professionals are lagging behind compared to their international counterparts. In the Netherlands the focus lies on sending out news, while internationally more attention is devoted to dialogue and direct contact with journalists and consumers via social media.

To see the entire report visit http://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/NW/2014-Study-impact-of-Social-Media-on-News-more-crowdchecking-less-factchecking.htm