Irish journalists don’t trust social media, survey finds

Jan 09 2015 Posted: 10:01 GMT

Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway releases results of first national survey on social journalism

Irish journalists still rely on traditional methods to verify stories, according to the first nationwide survey of news reporting in the digital age.

“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," said Insight researcher Dr Bahareh Heravie.

"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.”

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 state that they 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 the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The survey was open to all professional journalists working in Ireland, and was distributed widely to attract the broadest possible set of responses. The survey collected information from journalists working in all areas of reporting, from Irish news to world news, and from arts through business, lifestyle, sports, and technology. Respondents for the most part identified as skilled users of social media, and worked for a wide range of media, from print to broadcast to online-only publications.

In a world where the first person to see and write about a breaking news event is a random individual with a smart phone, instead of a seasoned reporter in the field, what role does social media play in contemporary journalism? This and many more questions are being addressed for the first time in the Irish context by the survey launched today.


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