Social media has a growing impact on the news #SMING15

08 October 2015 ... min read

Amsterdam, 8 October 2015

International media professionals agree: social media increasingly influence the news.
American PR professionals in particular welcome social media as a reliable source of information, German journalists are the most sceptical.

This can be concluded from the annual Social Media Impact (#SMING15) survey held by ING among an international group of journalists and PR professionals. Expectations are that real-time journalism will play a more important role. More than half of the journalists expect that fact-checking before publication will decrease, while half of the PR professionals already notice that, since the rise of social media, journalists are contacting them less often to check facts about their organisation.

Harold Reusken, Head of Media Relations ING The Netherlands

Harold Reusken, Head of Media Relations ING The Netherlands

Both international journalists and PR professionals increasingly regard social media as a reliable source of information. Harold Reusken, Head of Media Relations ING The Netherlands: “Internationally the differences are considerable: 68% of journalists from Germany think messages on social media are unreliable, compared to only 20% of American PR professionals. Anglo-Saxon journalists are more progressive compared to their colleagues on the European mainland; they’re more actively engaged in social media to see what issues are topical and to initiate dialogue with the public.”

Growing impact of social media on the news

In the US, 90% of the professionals feel that social media will have an increasingly bigger impact on the news. Even in Germany, where social media is least popular among professionals, 71% agrees. A large majority of international media professionals has noticed a considerable drop in the use of traditional media channels in their day-to-day work due to the impact of social media. PR professionals, more so than journalists, feel that traditional PR means, such as press releases, become less and less relevant.

Organisations are also called less often to have information checked. Reusken: “News is put online and shared more often and faster. Not only by journalists, but also by consumers and professionals in a certain sector.” The use of user-generated content such as pictures, videos and tweets will become more frequent, according to 77% of the media professionals. As such, the impact of real-time journalism and social media on the news is rising.

Crowd checking

Crowd-checking continues to grow

Although crowd-checking has already gained considerable popularity, international journalists and PR professionals expect this to only increase in the future. Currently, crowd-checking is most popular in the US (72%) and least popular in the Netherlands (53%).

Facts checking

Get the news out first or check all the facts first?

The survey confirms the expectation that media professionals will be less engaged in fact-checking: 51% of British journalists think it is more important to publish the news as soon as possible rather than checking all the facts first.

67% of British journalists think the opinion of consumers on social media is more reliable than a statement by an organisation. “American journalists are surprisingly conservative about publishing. Regardless of how reliable they think social media are as an information source, only 34% think publishing fast is more important than checking the facts first”, Reusken explains.

Blogging is hot

Blogging is hot

A striking aspect in the survey is the important role of blogging. In the United States and the United Kingdom in particular, writing a blog is hot; 80% of journalists in these countries write a blog. PR professionals are not particularly active bloggers, except in the US.

Although a blog is not yet deemed overly influential, it is gaining ground. A growing number of media-professionals use blogs to collect information. After Facebook, German journalists use blogs the most to check information by reading responses or threads and by responding to these. In all the countries that have been researched and for both occupational groups, Facebook continues to be the most popular platform.

More info and downloadables

The survey was conducted by DVJ Insights, on the instruction of ING The Netherlands. The survey among PR professionals and journalists into the impact of social media on their work (#SMING15) was conducted among more than 1,000 media professionals. In previous years, the survey mainly focused on the Dutch market. This year, internal media professionals from Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States were also interviewed.

For more information please contact Harold Reusken, Head of Media Relations ING The Netherlands at +31 6 5498 4413 or by email.

Full report Impact of social media on news (PDF, 8,6 KB).
Infographic Impact of social media on news (PDF, 931 KB).

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