Saturday, January 19, 2008

Seventy Five Percent of Reporters Use Blogs for Story Ideas

Brodeur Journalists Survey Identifies Blogs’ Influence on Traditional News Coverage

Blogs help journalists set the tone with story ideas, angles and insights.

A survey of U.S. journalists by Brodeur, a unit of Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), suggests that blogs are not only having an impact on the speed and availability of news, but also influence the tone and editorial direction of reporting.

The survey is part of an ongoing research project by Brodeur in conjunction with Marketwire to dissect and understand the impact that social media and blogs are having on traditional news delivery. The online survey was conducted among a random sample of North American reporters and editors, and was focused on understanding how social media and blogs influence their work.

Jerry Johnson, head of strategic planning at Brodeur, shared the results during the “Taking the Blogosphere Seriously” seminar at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Johnson’s study uncovered a very balanced view of the blogosphere by reporters.

“While only a small percentage of journalists feel that blogs are helpful in generating sources or exclusives, they do see blogs as particularly useful in helping them better understand the context of a story, a new story angle, or a new story idea. It appears that reporters are using blogs more for ethnographic research than they are for investigative research,” Johnson commented.

Johnson went on to explain that the survey confirmed something many have suspected – that new media (social media and blogs) is having an impact on many different aspects of reporting, particularly the speed and availability of news. Less than half of journalists thought that new media was having an impact – either good or bad – on the quality of news reporting.

The survey also uncovered several additional attitudes and behaviors:
Blogs are a regular source for journalists. Over three quarters of reporters see blogs as helpful in giving them story ideas, story angles and insight into the tone of an issue.
Nearly 70% of all reporters check a blog list on a regular basis. Over one in five (20.9%) reporters said they spend over an hour per day reading blogs. And a total of nearly three in five (57.1%) reporters said they read blogs at least two to three times a week.

Journalists are increasingly active participants in the blogosphere. One in four reporters (27.7%) have their own blogs and nearly one in five (16.3%) have their own social networking page. About half of reporters (47.5%) say they are “lurkers” – reading blogs but rarely commenting.

The majority of journalists thought blogs were having a significant impact on news reporting in all areas tested EXCEPT in the area of news quality. The biggest impact has been in speed and availability of news. Over half said that blogs were having a significant impact on the “tone” (61.8%) and “editorial direction” (51.1%) of news reporting.

“Like any new social phenomenon, the blogosphere has become a resource for reporters,” said Johnson, “but reporters are still creating their stories by going out and developing their own ideas and talking to their sources.”

Here is the full article.