Majority of bloggers call themselves journalists

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

On his Journalistics blog, Jeremy Porter assessed a recent PRWeek/PR Newswire survey on blogging and online journalism. Attitudes in both arenas are shifting fast, and this year’s results are markedly different than 2009’s. The highlight is that 52 percent of bloggers now consider themselves journalists. It’s not clear whether that’s because more traditional journalists have blogs or because bloggers are wielding more influence and becoming more established.

Porter tried to tease out what made the two identities different.

… 91 percent of bloggers use blogs and social networks “always” or “sometimes” for research (compared to 35 percent for newspapers). Put differently, most blogs rely on other bloggers — and anybody they find on social networks — as sources. This is part of the reason accurate and misinformation spreads quickly online — many bloggers copy each other.

Talking specifics, the study found that 64 percent of bloggers and 36 percent of online reporters use Twitter as a research tool for stories, but only 19 percent of newspaper reporters and 17 percent of print magazine reporters use this social medium as a research. Does this signal a lack of sophistication and comfort with social media among traditional journalists, or do they know something bloggers don’t, like the best sources aren’t found in a sea of tweets? It’s probably a mixture of both.

And here’s a quick summary of the more interesting survey results. Sentences have been edited for brevity and coherence, but most of it is taken directly from the press release.

  • Over 70% of respondents in this year’s survey indicate a heavier workload as compared to last.
  • 62% are required to write for online news sections, with 39% contributing to their publication’s blog.
  • 37% of U.S. journalists also now must maintain a Twitter feed.
  • 31% of respondents indicated that “staff cuts/layoffs” most affected their jobs over the past three years,significantly higher than 2009 (22%).
  • When asked if building a personal brand was a consideration in their work, the majority of U.S. (52%) media (60%) responded either “extremely important” or “important.”
  • Only 20% of bloggers derive the majority of their income from their blog work; a 4% increase from 2009.
  • While 91% of bloggers and 68% of online reporters “always” or “sometimes” use blogs for research, only 35% of newspaper and 38% of print magazine journalists suggested the same.
  • Overall, 33% of respondents indicated using social networks for research, but blogger usage (48%) was greater than newspaper (31%) and print magazine (27%).
  • PR professionals still consider e-mail to be the most effective means for pitching journalists (74%), 43% of journalists report having being pitched through social networks compared to 31% in 2009.

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