Journalists love social media — but they don’t trust it

Social media is meat and drink to journalists everywhere but many reporters still do not trust it, according to the first nationwide survey of news reporting in the digital era.

A study conducted by researchers at NUI Galway found that 55% of journalists surveyed thought that social media platforms were undermining traditional journalistic values.

It found that among Irish journalists surveyed, 99% used social media, with half using it on a daily basis, but those questioned said they used traditional methods to verify stories.

While three quarters of those questioned said using social media enhanced their connections with both audience and fellow journalists, 64% said information on social media cannot be trusted.

The research was conducted by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUIG and has been published on the Digital Humanities and Journalism Group’s website.

The report was launched at the Citizen Journalism and Social Media Archiving mini-track at the 48th HICSS conference on Hawaii yesterday.

It also found that 92% of those surveyed use Twitter at least once a week, while Facebook is the second most popular social media platform.

It also found sports journalists are the most ardent users of social media, with 54% claiming to use it several times a day.

The study also reported that 58% use social media for sourcing news leads, and 49% use it for sourcing content

According to Bahareh Heravi of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway: “This survey reveals that the vast majority of journalists in Ireland use social media for sourcing news leads, content, and verifying information, but the majority still believe that, without external verification, the information cannot be trusted.

“Very few journalists use specialist tools to validate information, instead relying on the practice of contacting individuals directly. While this practice upholds traditional journalistic procedures for verifying information, in the age of social media, it is an increasingly time-consuming process.”

The information in the report was gathered from 421 professional journalists working in Ireland in print, broadcast and online-only media, and across numerous age groups.

It found that while social media is most popular for sourcing leads and content in journalism, many felt the content could not be trusted and required the use of “real world” sources for verification.

The report can be read here.


Lifestyle

In January of 1994, RTÉ reporter Tommie Gorman was given a diagnosis that would change his life.Examine Yourself: Getting cancer made sense of everything for Tommie Gorman

In aid of Cancer Awareness Week, we convinced four of our columnists to bare all for our Examine Yourself campaign.Examine Yourself: Baring all for Cancer Awareness Week

It was an effervescent and often moving turn by an artist with a meaningful claim to the title of world’s most interesting pop star.Ariana Grande's opening night at 3Arena in Dublin proved why she is the world's most interesting pop star

Marian Duggan was in her 20s and could not imagine that her symptoms could be so serious, not even when a tennis-ball-size cyst was removed from her left ovary, says Helen O’Callaghan.Examine Yourself: 'I thought I was too young to have cancer'

More From The Irish Examiner