Journalists don’t trust social media

NUI Galway

Irish journalists still rely on traditional methods to verify stories and tend to distrust social media, the first nationwide survey of news reporting in the digital age indicates. The survey by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway shows that while most journalists in Ireland use social media for sourcing news leads, content and verifying information, the majority still believe that, without external verification, the information cannot be trusted.

Insight researcher Dr Bahareh Heravie said very few journalists use specialist tools to validate information, instead relying on the practice of contacting individuals directly. While the practice upholds traditional journalistic procedures for verifying information, in the age of social media, it is an increasingly time-consuming process. Overall, the survey found that 99 per cent of Irish journalists use social media, with half of those using it daily.

While most journalists believe that using social media makes them more engaged with their audience and with other journalists, over half believe social media is undermining traditional journalistic values. Social media is most popular with journalists for sourcing leads and content. Few surveyed believe that content found on social media can be trusted. The majority rely on contact with ‘real world’ sources for verification.

The comprehensive report: Social Journalism Survey: First National Survey  on Irish Journalists’ Use of Social Media (2014) was compiled from data from hundreds of professional journalists working in Ireland by the Digital Humanities and Journalism group of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway. The survey was open to all professional journalists working in Ireland and was widely distributed.

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