June 30, 2014
Journalists use social-media posts widely despite doubting their reliability, and PR professionals believe that news is becoming less trustworthy as many journalists no longer check their facts, says a new, international survey from the Dutch bank ING.
Sixty percent of journalists said that when using social media they share their personal opinions and feel less bound by rules of objectivity, the survey found. Half said they consider consumer opinion to be more reliable than statements issued by organizations.
According to the survey, reporters use social media to find out what people are talking about, but don’t always check whether public opinion is based on facts. Fact-checking in general has become less thorough, with “publish first, correct later if necessary” now an unspoken motto. With journalists under pressure to get stories out quickly, only 20 percent always check their facts before publishing, the survey found.
More than half of PR professionals surveyed said that since the arrival of social media, journalists contact them less frequently to check facts.
The survey provides other insights into how PR professionals use and view social media. Eighty-one percent said they believe PR can no longer operate without it. Sixty-four percent consider social media to be more superficial than traditional media, but 81 percent believe that social media have a more rapid impact. Fifty-six percent of PR pros said that social media have reduced the importance of traditional media. — Greg Beaubien