Journalists are getting their information from the Web, but is Web Content reliable?

A full copy of the George Washington University and Cision 2009 Social Media & Online Usage Study is also available for download.

A national survey, conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University, found that an overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories. Among the journalists surveyed, 89% said they turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter. The survey also found that 61% use Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.

While the results demonstrate the fast growth of social media as a well-used source of information for mainstream journalists, the survey also made it clear that reporters and editors are acutely aware of the need to verify information they get from social media.

  • 84% said social media sources were “slightly less” or “much less” reliable than traditional media
  • 49% say social media suffers from “lack of fact checking, verification and reporting standards

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