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An overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories, but they turn to PR for primary research and context.

While it's probably not breaking news to most PR people that journalists are using social media to find stories and sources, a national survey conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University’s Master’s Degree Program in Strategic Public Relations definitely underscores the need for us to change our media relations strategy. And for those of us not yet active in social media, it should be a wake up call.

According ot the survey 89% ofthe journalists polled said they turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter. 61% use Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. If your news content is not visibie online media relationsis going to be much harder.

Are there any PR folk out there not familiar with social media, you might ask?  Indeed there are. So much so that Marketwire just launched a social media fitness series specifically to assist these late adopters.

What journalist are not getting, the survey finds, is reliablity and accuracy: 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."  It's a supplement, not a replacement. Editors and reporters sitll rely on primary sources, fact-checking and other traditional best practices in journalism, says the study.  And that's good news for us - most journalists turn to public relations professionals for assistance with their primary research.

"As PR professionals increasingly utilize social media as a means of communicating, they have a bigger responsibility than ever to ensure the information they provide journalists is accurate and timely, provide access to the primary sources who can verify the facts, and be knowledgeable enough to provide accurate background and context."

Sounds like the reasons the social media press release format was created.

Remember this?

And don't rely on wire services to get your news out in this format. Upgrade the newsroom on your website so you can post your news in social media format and make your digital assets easy to find and use.

Sally Falkow

Published 21 January, 2010 by Sally Falkow

Sally Falkow, APR

The Proactive Report

Anticipating online PR trends

9 more posts from this author

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Nigel Cooper

Good post...to be fair, wherever you find your information from, you should always be cross referencing it and checking out its authenticity... even with old school methods. I don't really see any difference with Social Media.

The people that would fall prey to regurgitating or publishing incorrect facts are the same people who didn't bother doing proper research in the first place - ie lazy people :D

Also, am I missing something or is the first comment in this thread just vaccuous spam about handbags? Just wondering if I was missing some well-hidden pearl of wisdom...

almost 7 years ago

Sally Falkow

Sally Falkow, Strategist at The Proactive Report

Yes it is just spam.  These usually get caught by the filter but I guess this one slipped through.

almost 7 years ago

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Nigel Cooper

Hey Sally, sorry, figured it was spam, couldn't help mentioning it, though, it chuckled me a bit for some reason.

almost 7 years ago

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Nick Shin

Sally,

Great post here with some interesting stats (and thank you for the Marketwire and SM Fitness program mention!).  You make a great point about how social media is a "supplement, not a replacement".  It goes even broader than that too. Social media should be a supplement to a marketing campaign, not a replacement.  Users tend to lose sight of that.

It's not all that surprising to see that not all PR (and marketing) professionals have embraced or taken advantage of social media.  The biggest problem is understanding its benefits and using the advantages of social media to impact a business.  Marketwire's #sm10x30 program provides that and as of yesterday, 1/20, only 2 days after the program launch, we have seen close to 400 registrants with a 60:40 basic to core track ratio.  We're happy to provide this free program to PR and marketing professionals and the statistics show that if you are new to social media, you are not alone. 

Really enjoyed this post.  Keep it up!

Nick (@shinng)

Search Marketing & Social Media Specialist @Marketwire

http://www.twitter.com/marketwire

http://www.sm10x30.com

almost 7 years ago

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Jack Monson

Nice post Sally -

I agree with Nigel that infomation coming from a SM source needs to be authenticated as much as (if not more than) info from any other channel. And that's where well-connected PR pros can make themselves more valuable than ever!

@jackmonson

almost 7 years ago

Sally Falkow

Sally Falkow, Strategist at The Proactive Report

Quite right Jack.  It is an opportunity for PR folk who learn the ropes.

Our Social Media Club panel Thursday night in Pasadena CA spoke at length about the similarities and differences between bloggers and journalists.  And the need for correct news data. 

Jessica Gottlieb, the blogger on the panel, pointed out that most bloggers are not there to provide us with fact-checked news. They write about their passion from their viewpoint.

They don't see themselves as journalists with a duty to give unbiased, fact-checked news. And neither should we. Caveat emptor.  Be aware of what/who you're reading and act accordingly.

almost 7 years ago

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Mary Anderson

This post and responses reflect a growing need for PRs and marketers to step up their game. Well done Marketwire for stepping up. Journalists (competent ones - nod to Nigel) are strapped for accurate info.

Social Media newsrooms are very needed and wanted by journalists and editors. They can provide them with what they need for story ideas and fact checking - all with the click of a mouse. To borrow from Peter Shankman - Help a reporter out!

almost 7 years ago

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Mili Ponce

Great posts, people need to understand the power of Social Marketing, as it is something people miss understand

almost 7 years ago

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