PR practitioners should pay close attention to the number of journalists using social media tools. A few years ago, people were sceptical that most journalists would
use social media tools at all. Even though the social media press release
format, and the desire to get news in feeds, grew out of a journalist’s
frustration with traditional press releases, the perception was that it
would not catch on with non-tech journalists.

The stats tell a very different story: journalists have been adopting social media tools at a steady rate. The number of journalists reading blogs and RSS feeds increases every year.

In 2007, 37% said they use feeds to get updates of news, blogs and podcasts. Sixteen percent read five or more feeds.

“Going to a number of newsrooms per day is a lot of work,” says Ibrey Woodall, director of marketing for the TEKGroup, who sponsored the survey. “An RSS feed will notify them, streamlining the process even more.”

In 2008, 44% were reading feeds regularly; while 19% were reading five or more feeds every day. Use of online video had jumped from 28% to 38%.

This year alone has seen quite a shift: Over 70% of journalists surveyed wanted organizations to provide a page in the online newsroom containing links to every social media environment in which that company participates. 38% of journalists prefer to receive information via company tweets!

28% now say RSS feeds are important, and 62% read them regularly.

Journalism schools are teaching students the benefits of using social media tools:

  • Attract more readers and traffic to the news site
  • Conduct personal interviews
  • Access up-to-the-second information on the latest developments of any news, trends and happenings, worldwide
  • Find sources
  • Do personal publishing
  • Cover live events
  • Create conversations with readers
  • Build community
  • Build a personal brand

When current and future journalists are this active in social media, and they rely on feeds to get content and news, PR practitioners need to be just as social media savvy. Start by putting all your news content in feeds. Syndicate your content and get it moving in the social mediasphere. Upgrading your online newsroom to a social media newsroom should be high on your list of PR goals for 2009.

Image Credit:  Search Engine People Blog