Chris Lynch: “Nearly half of journalists said they can’t carry out their job without social media”

Cision CMO Chris Lynch discusses the important key findings in the US from the annual 2017 Global Social Journalism Study. The UK 2017 Social Journalism Study country report can also be downloaded for free. 

The global study, which surveyed journalists in the US, Canada, UK and elsewhere in EMEA on their social media habits, preferences and views was recently published in separate country reports by Cision and conducted in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University.

In this video, Lynch talks about the US findings and what they might mean.

What can journalists and communicators do about ‘fake news’?

Our survey (in the US) found that more than half of journalists found that fake news is becoming a serious problem in their profession. And you can definitely understand why. They’re chasing down a lot of stories, there’s a lot of pressure to be first and meanwhile, you have all these new entities that are cropping up that are really just looking to drive web traffic based on anything that they think is interesting.

There are studies that are showing that sometimes people don’t even read the entire story, they just read the headline, so that’s something to really look after and really police. And I think it’s worth the extra time from communicators and journalists to follow up after that content is published in social channels.

How do journalists use social to do their job?

Nearly half of journalists said that they can’t carry out their job without social media. The thing that’s really changed with social media and the journalism community is its created a mechanism by which people can talk back.

Journalists need to look at it as a huge opportunity. Now you can actually go out onto social media, if you use social listening tools intelligently you can mine for certain topics that people are talking about, and that are trending, and then weave that into your story.

So, you can actually represent more of the public interest in your stories versus, you know, only focusing on your sources and people who work at the institutions that you cover.

How often do journalists engage on social media?

Almost half of journalists also said that they engage daily on social media, and that’s a statistic that I think is just going to keep going up.

If you look at most great journalism today, some of it follows the same formula it always did. You go out and you talk to different sources, you find the right information, you find the facts and you present those facts.

One of the things that can often be lost is the context with which regular people feel about those stories, and having social media as a means to engage directly with consumers is a really powerful thing for a lot of journalists.

Do journalists trust PR pros?

Probably no surprise, our survey found that more than half of journalists have trust issues with the PR professionals and the communications professionals that they work with. I think communicators and PRs need to remember that in most cases journalists don’t have a personal vendetta against their organisations, and a lot of cases they’re just trying to do their job, and they’re just trying to get the information that makes that content fair and interesting.

People should read this survey (here is the UK report)  because I think it gets at a few different relationships that are happening in the market that are very interesting. One opportunity for communicators to be viewed as more strategic in their organisations is to have an opinion about what type of messaging, and what type of content is going to resonate.

And if they follow a lot of the social journalism that’s happening, and a lot of the consumer response to those stories, they can actually factor that into a lot of the messaging creation that they assist with inside of their organisation.

Download the UK 2017 Social Journalism Study here:



Cision is also hosting a webinar looking at how journalists are using social media to create and promote their work and what this means for the ways PRs can communicate and pitch to them.

Becky Lucas, insight and strategy editor at GQ, will share her thoughts on how the media magazine brand and its team are working on social media and Kristine Pole, senior lecturer marketing, Business School, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Philip Smith, head of content marketing and comms, EMEA, at Cision will present insights and findings from the UK’s 2017 Social Journalism Study.

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